Atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries, is a condition in which the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to a build-up of plaque. This buildup can occur over many years and can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. While atherosclerosis is often thought of as a problem that primarily affects older adults, it can actually begin much earlier in life. In fact, one study found that atherosclerosis begins in childhood in some people. This is a worrisome finding, as it means that atherosclerosis may be a much more common condition than previously thought. There are many risk factors for atherosclerosis, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes. While some of these risk factors cannot be changed (such as family history), others can be controlled by making lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, atherosclerosis often has no symptoms in its early stages. This means that many people are unaware that they have the condition until it is too late. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the risk factors and to get regular check-ups. While there is no cure for atherosclerosis, treatments are available that can help to slow its progression.