What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is simply abnormal plaque buildup in medium sized and large arteries of the body.
What Causes Atherosclerosis?
For the most part atherosclerosis is caused by traditional risk factors such as dyslipidemia, diabetes, tobacco use, hypertension and genetic risk factors. In addition emerging risk factors such as metabolic abnormalities, inflammatory molecules have recently been recognized and diagnostic assays have been introduced with limited acceptance by payers.
Are There Different Forms of Atherosclerotic Disease?
Even though atherosclerosis is a generalized disease, it can be more manifest in certain areas of the body such as the heart, carotid arteries or peripheral arteries. Depending upon the location of the atherosclerotic disease, it can be called coronary atherosclerotic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, stroke or peripheral arterial disease. Any patient with disease in one vascular bed is at high risk for disease in another.
Current Challenges in Atherosclerosis Diagnosis and Management
The clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis develop late into the pathological process and have serious consequences. It is relatively straightforward to diagnose late disease. However, to diagnose early and prevent progression to later stages is problematic, requires advanced imaging and laboratory techniques in appropriately selected medium or high risk patients. There is some endorsement of such diagnostic testing by professional societies that has not been adopted widely due complexities in choosing the right patients to test and resistance from payers.
The management of atherosclerotic disease can be medical including therapeutic life style changes or surgical. Management of dyslipidemia, hypertension, and tobacco cessation are the essential components for better outcomes. The translation of clinical studies to daily practice and the adoption of national and international guidelines by practitioners and institutes have been less than desirable, even wasteful. This stems mostly from the lack of interface between ever growing and changing vast medical literature and the individual patient profile.
Appropriate, selective use of diagnostic testing for the diagnosis of atherosclerosis especially in earlier stages as recommended by appropriateness criteria published by professional societies.
Guidance to evidence based management strategies
The utility of CVD Evaluator leading to improved outcomes in comparison to routine care given by clinicians have been proven in clinical practice.