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February 20, 1967


JAMA. 1967;199(8):578. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120080112024

Although atherosclerosis appears to have affected mankind as far back in history as medical records can be found, there is little doubt that its importance as a cause of death and disability, especially in Europe and North America, has increased tremendously within the past few decades. This is partly because more people live longer, since the incidence and severity of arteriosclerotic changes increase with age. Nevertheless, the development of atherosclerosis severe enough to jeopardize normal function, or even life itself, cannot be considered a normal part of the aging process.

Many factors have been implicated in the genesis of this vascular disorder: diet, heredity, stress, obesity, hypertension, metabolic disorders such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, climate, and smoking. Probably no one factor alone can produce the degenerative changes seen in advanced atheroslcerotic disease. For this reason, preventive treatment directed solely against basic causes may be impractical. Another and perhaps more