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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2009 Aug;16 Suppl 2:S29-36. doi: 10.1097/01.hjr.0000359233.58023.64.

Risk factor management: antiatherogenic therapies.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine/Cardiology, University of Leipzig - Heart Center, Leipzig, Germany. stephan.gielen@medizin.uni-leipzig.de

Abstract

Despite the advances in interventional techniques, the management of stable atherosclerosis remains the domain of optimal guideline-oriented therapy. Recent studies on the effects of aggressive lipid lowering on atheroma volume changes using intravascular ultrasound indicate that it is possible to achieve atherosclerosis regression by reaching low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels less than 75 mg/dl. The pleiotropic anti-inflammatory effects of statins contribute to the reduction of cardiovascular (CV) event observed with aggressive lipid lowering. As a second important strategy to prevent disease progression, lifestyle changes with regular physical exercise are capable of halting the atherosclerotic process and reducing angina symptoms and CV events. Optimal medical therapy, a healthy lifestyle with regular physical exercise, and coronary interventions are not mutually exclusive treatment strategies. Over the last few decades, both have proved to be effective in significantly reducing the CV mortality in the Western world. However, risk factor modification contributed to at least half the effect in the reduction of CV mortality. This figure provides an estimate of what could be achieved if we were to take risk factor modification more seriously - especially in the acute care setting. The knowledge is there: today we have a better understanding on how to stop progression and even induce regression of atherosclerosis. Much research still needs to be done and will be done. In the meantime, however, our primary focus should lie in implementing what is already known. In addition, it is essential not just to treat CV risk factors, but also to treat them to achieve the target values as set by the guidelines of European Society of Cardiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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