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What're the risk factors for atherosclerosis?

There are several risk factors that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, some which can be controlled, and some that cannot. Risk factors include:


  • documented atheroma in any artery (unfortunately not detected by most medical tests)
  • having diabetes or just upper normal blood glucose and insulin levels, even though not considered to be in the diabetes range (any glycosolated hemoglobin, HbA1c, above 5.0 according to a European trial reported in 2001)
  • dyslipidemia (cholesterol and triglyceride level disturbances): having a high blood concentration of low density lipoprotein (LDL, "bad cholesterol") particles, elevated lipoprotein little a, a varient of LDLipoproteins and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles. having a low concentration of functioning high density lipoprotein (HDL, "good cholesterol") particles. HDL particles can transport cholesterol from the tissues back to the liver, however they vary considerably in their actual performance.
  • higher fibrinogen blood concentrations
  • homocysteine in the upper half of the normal range, and especially elevated levels
  • aging and being male (women have more problems after menopause, but hormone replacement therapy worsens rather than improves the risk)
  • tobacco smoking, even just once a day
  • having close relatives who had heart disease or a stroke at a relatively young age
  • having high blood pressure
  • having trouble managing stress, especially anger
  • being obese (especially central obesity, i.e. fat at waist level, especially intra-abdominal (around the intestines) more than subcutaneous fat
  • being physically less active, especially aerobic exercise
  • several internal chemical markers indicating ongoing inflammation may also relate to relative risk
  • these risk factors, judging from clinical trials, operate synergistically to promote earlier and more severe disease yet still miss many who become disabled from the consequences of atherosclerosis
  • Most humans develop atherosclerosis. Usually only "high-risk" patients are advised to change dietary choices, exercise, lose weight, take cholesterol-lowering mediation and lower blood sugar levels. Most of the proven, more effective cholesterol medications are only available by prescription. There is ongoing debate about what dietary changes are wisest and how to adjust these for different people.

    More information on atherosclerosis

    What is atherosclerosis? - Atherosclerosis is a stage of arteriosclerosis involving fatty deposits inside the arterial walls. Atherosclerosis can lead to stroke, heart attack, eye problems, and kidney problems.
    How does the atherosclerosis develop? - Atherosclerosis is a gradual process that occurs when cholesterol collects under the inner lining of artery walls due to damage from uncontrolled high blood pressure.
    What causes atherosclerosis? - Atherosclerosis is caused by a response to damage to the endothelium from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking.
    What're the risk factors for atherosclerosis? - There are several risk factors that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, some which can be controlled, and some that cannot.
    What're the symptoms of atherosclerosis? - Symptoms of atherosclerosis include the deposition of atheromatous plaques containing cholesterol and lipids on the innermost layer of the walls of large and medium-sized arteries.
    How is atherosclerosis diagnosed? - Atherosclerosis is usually diagnosed after other complications have arisen and another conditions has been diagnosed, such as coronary artery disease.
    What're the treatments for atherosclerosis? - Medical treatments for atherosclerosis focus on the symptoms. Physical treatments include minimally invasive angioplasty procedures.
    How atherosclerosis is prevented? - Prevention of atherosclerosis centers on reducing cholesterol, homocysteine level, keeping triglycerides in check, maintaining a healthful weight.
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    Topics in heart disease and cardiovascular disorders

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    Procedures done for coronary artery disease
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    All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005