Peter Libby, MD, cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; author of a new review paper published in Nature.
Atherosclerosis -- hardening of the arteries -- is now involved in the majority of deaths worldwide, and advances in our understanding of the biology of the disease are changing traditional views and opening up new avenues for treatment.
The picture of who may be at risk for a heart attack has evolved considerably in recent decades. At one time, a heart attack might have conjured up the image of a middle-aged white man with high cholesterol and high blood pressure who smoked cigarettes. Today, traditional concepts of what contributes to risk have changed. These updated views include new thinking around:
"Advances in our understanding of the biology of atherosclerosis have opened avenues to therapeutic interventions that promise to improve the prevention and treatment of now-ubiquitous atherosclerotic diseases," writes Libby. "From a therapeutic perspective, we have reason for optimism in addressing the growing burden of atherosclerotic risk."
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