Nearly 50% of all heart attacks and strokes occur in patients with “normal” cholesterol levels. Recent evidence goes beyond lipids to suggest that inflammation within the artery wall is the primary contributor to this residual risk for heart attack and stroke. Inflammation contributes to both vulnerable plaque formation and to plaque rupture.4
The beginnings of CVD are rooted in injury to the arterial wall. Risk factors like smoking, hypertension, and diabetes injure the arterial wall, making it more susceptible to penetration and accumulation of excess lipids.
The inflammatory response to injury contributes to the progression of plaque development and is a key factor in the formation of vulnerable plaque and plaque rupture, which may cause a heart attack or stroke.