Harvard Heart Letter

New approach to fighting heart disease

Doctors try reducing inflammation to cut heart-attack risk.

The best protection against heart attack and stroke is to target certain risk factors with drugs and lifestyle changes. By quitting smoking, controlling high blood pressure, lowering high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar levels, and losing extra pounds, many people can substantially reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a disease that can block arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke.

But these interventions aren't always enough to prevent heart attacks and strokes. That's why researchers are targeting inflammation, an injury-fighting process that contributes to atherosclerosis. This year, two clinical trials will test whether reducing inflammation adds any additional protection against heart attack and stroke.

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