This review focuses on the role of oxidative processes in atherosclerosis and the cardiovascular diseases (CVD) that can arise as a result. Atherosclerosis represents a state of heightened oxidative stress characterized by lipid and protein oxidation in the vascular wall. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) under pathophysiologic conditions forms an integral part of the development of CVD, and in particular atherosclerosis. Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by a loss of nitric oxide (NO) bioactivity, occurs early on in the development of atherosclerosis, and determines future vascular complications. Although the molecular mechanisms responsible for mitochondria-mediated disease processes are not clear, oxidative stress seems to play an important role. In general, ROS are essential to the functions of cells, but adequate levels of antioxidant defenses are required in order to avoid the harmful effects of excessive ROS production. In this review, we will provide a summary of the cellular metabolism of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and its role in pathophysiological processes such as atherosclerosis; and currently available antioxidants and possible reasons for their efficacy and inefficacy in ameliorating oxidative stress-mediated diseases.