Causes, incidence, and risk factors Arteriosclerosis (“Hardening of the arteries”) commonly shows its effects first in the legs and feet. The arteries may become narrowed and blood flow decreases, progressing in some cases to total closure (occlusion) of the vessel. The vessel walls become less elastic and cannot dilate to allow greater blood flow when needed (such as during exercise). Deposits of calcium in the walls of the arteries contribute to the narrowing and stiffness, this calcification may be visible on plain X–rays.
It is a common disorder usually affecting men over 50 years of age, and occurring in about 6 out of 1,000 people. People who have a personal or family history of coronary artery or cerebro–vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, kidney disease involving hemodialysis, smoking, or obesity are at higher risk.
Arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. A disease of the arteries in which fatty material is deposited in the vessel wall, resulting in narrowing and eventual impairment of blood flow.