Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a broad category that encompasses disorders of heart and blood vessel structure or function. Most commonly, the term refers to a process called atherosclerosis, in which deposits of cholesterol and cell debris known as plaques build up in blood vessel walls. This entry provides a description of the most common forms of CVD at each life stage as well as a discussion of prevention and management of these conditions.

High levels of low-density lipoprotein, commonly referred to as the “bad cholesterol” due to its role in transporting cholesterol from the liver to body tissues, increase the risk of atherosclerotic disease. Conversely, higher levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the “good cholesterol” for its role in removing cholesterol from blood ...

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