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Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2005;2(1):44-9.

Cardiovascular disease in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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U.S. Medical Affairs, Field Medical, AstraZeneca LP, 1800 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19850.


Smoking is a major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disorders, including coronary heart disease (CHD) and peripheral arterial disease. Smoking-induced inflammation and other risk factors like dyslipidemia cause vascular endothelial damage via oxidative stress, and a vicious cycle with the characteristics of atherosclerosis ensues. Inflammatory cytokines stimulate hepatic acute-phase protein production, and C-reactive protein is now used widely to assess inflammation in the arterial wall. Smoking is associated with many alterations in lipids and lipoproteins, and is also prothrombotic. Global risk assessment, which determines the absolute risk for developing CHD in 10 years, is used widely to determine who should receive lipid-lowering therapy. Major CHD risk factors include age, sex, smoking, blood pressure, lipoproteins, and cholesterol, but COPD is not among them. Future studies should determine the absolute risk for developing CHD in patients with COPD. The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme-A reductase inhibitors (statins) are used widely to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease. The statins may also produce other beneficial pleiotropic effects, including increased nitric oxide and prostacyclin, antithrombosis, and decreased inflammation, perhaps indicating utility in the therapy for COPD. Efforts are currently underway to determine if such antiinflammatory effects are independent of or in addition to simply lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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