Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease process that affects medium and large arteries of the body and is the underlying cause of coronary heart disease, acute coronary events, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. It is the leading cause of morbidity and death in developed countries and increasingly in developing countries also.

Atherosclerosis is characterized by the formation within the artery walls of deposits called plaques (atheromas), which are composed of cholesterol, inflammatory cells, smooth muscle cells, connective tissue, and calcium. Current science indicates that the atherosclerotic disease process is an inflammatory (immune system) response to injury to the inner lining (endothelium) of the arteries. High total or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, cigarette smoking, hypertension, and diabetes are among the key modifiable risk factors that contribute to the ...

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