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Cardiol Rev. 2012 May-Jun;20(3):118-29. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e318239b924.

The evolution and refinement of traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

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Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as systemic hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, all described more than half a century ago, are relatively few in number. Efforts to expand the epidemiologic canon have met with limited success because of the high hurdle of causality. Fortunately, another solution to current deficiencies in risk assessment-in particular, the underestimation of risk both before and after initiation of pharmacotherapy-may exist. Parallel to the investigation of novel biomarkers, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, ongoing research has yielded improved metrics of known causative conditions. This evolution of traditional risk factors, heralded by measures such as ambulatory blood pressure, central hemodynamics, low density lipoprotein particle concentration, genetic testing, and "vascular age," may better address the detection gap in cardiovascular disease.

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