Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research;Volume 48, Number 2-3


Cardiovascular Disease : A Historic Perspective

SMITH, Donald

Permalink : http://hdl.handle.net/2115/2855
KEYWORDS : cardiovascular disease;coronary artery disease;lipid;LDL;atherosclerosis


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and in most industrialized nations. Major breakthroughs to modern day cardiovascular/lipid research have been attributed to the findings of the Framingham Heart Study and Gofman and colleagues who made associations between lipoprotein levels (LDL, VLDL and HDL) and CVD. Unfortunately, half of all CVD patients have none of the established coronary risk factors (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, obesity) and new strategies for identifying patients need be considered. Although there remains little disagreement regarding the necessity to lower elevated plasma cholesterol levels, there remains much controversy regarding appropriate dietary means to accomplish this goal. The National Cholesterol Education Program (1993) proposed a dietary reduction (Step I and Step II diets ) to the percent saturated fat and cholesterol consumed by at-risk patients. Many currently question about the effectiveness of these diets and an alternative diet, replacing saturated fats by monounsaturated fats (olive oil), has attracted recent attention. While diet modification is considered the foundation of primary treatment, other interventions are frequently required. Although early drug trials demonstrated that agents such as nicotinic acid, clofibrate, gemfibrozil, bile acid-binding resins generally slowed progression of atherosclerotic lesions, lowered plasma cholesterol levels and decreased mortality from CVD, the greatest advance to current drug therapy involved the discovery of the "statins"(HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). In the current work, mechanisms for vascular dysfunction resulting in myocardial ischemia were explored and potential nutritional (dietary) and pharmacologic interventions were reviewed.