Atherosclerosis: an Athero-Thrombo-Inflammatory Disease
Classical risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis include hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, smoking, and diabetes. When the atheromatous plaque erodes or ruptures, local thrombosis develops which leads to partial or complete vessel occlusion with its attendant potentially catastrophic consequences. Thus, the term athero-thrombotic disease has been adopted. However, inflammation is also a major contributor to the initiation and evolution of this process and has not been adequately addressed. The concept that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease has caused a paradigm shift in our understanding of its pathogenesis. Recent convincing evidence has accumulated that inflammation plays a fundamental role in atherothrombosis and the associated risk may be equal to that of hyperlipidemia. Based on this concept, new biomarkers and novel anti-inflammatory and immune therapies are being currently tested for managing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
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