A closer look at your coronary arteries
The blood vessels that supply your heart may narrow as you age. But there are many myths about this common condition.
To 17th-century anatomy experts, the arteries encircling the heart apparently resembled a crown, which is why they are known as the coronary arteries (from the Latin word corona, meaning wreath or crown). They emerge from the aorta, the body's largest artery, and dive into the muscle of the heart, nourishing the organ with blood and oxygen.
Healthy young children have flexible, elastic arteries. But over time, the heart's arteries can gradually stiffen and narrow, as cholesterol-laden plaque builds up inside their walls. This condition, coronary artery disease, is responsible for the heart attacks that strike somewhere in the United States roughly every 40 seconds.