Cardiovascular risk and atherosclerosis prevention

Jiri Frohlich, Ahmad AlSarraf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Until recently, coronary artery disease (CAD) was the leading cause of death in the developed countries. Its remarkable decline can be attributed to our knowledge of the major risk factors identified by several studies resulting in better prevention and treatment. Of the major risk factors, the ratio of apolipoprotein (apo) B/apo A1 followed by smoking, diabetes, and hypertension are the most important. A number of risk scores for men and women are now available to estimate the likelihood of development of CAD. However, because of the risk of CAD differs in various populations, some of the algorithms are more appropriate for some countries but not suitable for others. These risk assessment algorithms differ in the parameters they use. All the risk scores have some limitations such as different study populations; the age of the study is also different, and number of points awarded for age categories also differs among the various algorithms. In an effort to further improve the risk prediction, a number of biomarkers have been studied. In addition to plasma lipids, a lot of interest has focused on apo measurements; particularly of apo B. Another valuable biomarker is lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)]. Lp(a) is not only atherogenic as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) but also prothrombotic, and several studies indicate that Lp(a) is an independent risk factor for CAD. The lipid profile provides a framework for appropriate management. This includes therapeutic lifestyle changes and medications. Lifestyle interventions are the cornerstone of CAD prevention strategies and are the first step in risk factor management. Of particular importance are smoking cessation, achievement and maintenance of ideal body weight, regular exercise, reduction in the intake of saturated fat and sugars, and decreasing level of stress. Of medications, lipid-lowering, anti-hypertensive, and anti-coagulant can be effectively used. The current strategies for risk assessment and prevention have been very successful contributing to the more than 50% decrease in CAD mortality over the last 20 years. Thus, in Canada, cardiovascular disease is no longer the leading cause of death. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-18
Number of pages3
JournalCardiovascular Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • C-reactive protein
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Framingham Heart Study
  • Lifestyle
  • Lipoprotein (a)
  • Medications
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Risk scores


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