Atherosclerosis is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation and fibrosis of the intima of large and medium sized arteries. Atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries is the most common cause of myocardial infarction and atherosclerosis in the carotids and other major arteries supplying the brain is the major cause of stroke.
Cardiovascular diseases caused by atherosclerosis is the most common cause of death and disability in the western societies. More effective risk factor intervention combined with better management of acute cardiovascular events have decreased age-related cardiovascular mortality by over 30% over the last decades.
However, in spite of these achievements health problems caused by atherosclerosis are increasing as the proportion of older people in the population rises. It is generally agreed that further advancements in the treatment of atherosclerosis requires a better understanding of the molecular disease mechanisms and development of interventions more specifically targeted towards these mechanisms.
Last updated: January 26, 2012
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