Here's weirdly reassuring news for those of a certain age. Hardening of the arteries goes back a ways - like 3,500 years. From the WSJ:
A team of heart-imaging experts and Egyptologists examined 22 mummies from the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo in a CT scanning machine, looking for evidence of calcium buildup that could indicate vascular disease. They were able to identify the hearts, arteries or both in 16 of the mummies, nine of which had deposits of calcification. An analysis determined the deposits were either definite or probable evidence of atherosclerosis, the condition leads to heart attacks and strokes.
So what exactly caused all that buildup?
Researchers don't know for sure. But they noted that the mummies were all members of upper-class Egyptian society, and their diets included meat from cattle, ducks and geese. In addition, because there wasn't refrigeration, salt was commonly used to preserve meat and fish, raising the possibility that some of the mummies had had high blood pressure. Whether anyone was obese couldn't be determined by the scans, but tobacco wasn't part of the pharaohs' lifestyle.