Endothelial dysfunction – A predictor of atherosclerosis
Endothelial dysfunction is a systemic disorder and a critical element in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic diseases and its complications. Growing evidences suggest that the individual burden of currently known cardiovascular risk factors is not the only determinant of endothelial function; rather endothelial integrity depends on the balance of all cardiovascular risk factors and vasculoprotective elements in a given individual, including the genetic predisposition. Recent studies have demonstrated that patients with endothelial dysfunction have an increased risk of clinical cardiovascular events. The coronary events including myocardial infarction, death or neovascularization occur only in patients with severely impaired endothelial functions. Interventions like risk factor modification and treatment with various drugs may improve prognosis. Hence given its reversibility and granted the availability of a diagnostic tool to identify patients at risk and to control the efficacy of therapy in clinical practice, endothelial dysfunction may be an attractive target, in an effort to optimize individualized strategies to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Thus a deep insight in to the pathophysiology of endothelium and its functions can be of value in identifying and preventing the risk factors of various cardio vascular diseases. The early risk prediction would ensure a better quality of life in the adulthood if the preventive steps are taken in the childhood itself since there is no age bar for the onset of the endothelial dysfunction.
Keywords: Endothelial dysfunction; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular events; Risk factor; Prognosis
Internet Journal of Medical Update Vol. 4 (1) 2009: pp. 33-41