Hypertension Treatment

Lipid Hypothesis Of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a disease affecting the blood vessels of the arteries. Often, plasma proteins which carry cholesterol and triglycerides, known as lipoproteins, get accumulated in the walls of the arteries. As a result plague gets formed within the arteries.

 Plague is a collective name given to material consisting of cholesterol, fat and other similar substances which affects the flexibility of the arteries and make it difficult for the blood to flow through them.

High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and genetic factors are the common factors responsible for this condition. It is characterized by a hardening of the arteries and may eventually cause arterial blockage. It can also cause blood clots, heart attack and stroke.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, several theories and hypothesis were developed to explain the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. One such theory was the lipid hypothesis of atherosclerosis. This theory was put forth by Rudolph Virchow.

The lipid hypothesis of atherosclerosis proposes that this condition is caused by the deposition of blood lipids (lipids play a significant role in the human body’s immune system) in the walls of the arteries. It further suggests that high levels of good cholesterol provide a protection against atherosclerosis.

In 1913, a study conducted on rabbits showed that cholesterol can produce symptoms that can  commonly occur in atherosclerosis. This finding suggested that cholesterol may have a role in play in this arterial disease.

In the 1950s, cardiovascular disease emerged as a leading killer disease in the West. Since then, the lipid hypothesis suggesting that blood cholesterol and saturated fats are responsible for cardiovascular disease has been the central point of a lot of research. Several findings point to the fact that there is an inverse relation between atherosclerosis and cholesterol.

These developments have over time resulted in arriving at a consensus on the lipid hypothesis of atherosclerosis and presently it is commonly recognized and accepted as a proven scientific fact.