Cardiovascular Disease Research
Research into cardiovascular disease is aimed at identifying specific causes and determining whether new treatment approaches are safe and effective. Specifically, researchers are trying to understand cardiovascular disease at a cellular level and identify new risk factors, such as C-reactive protein. This research has already led to many advances, and scientists continue to search for more effective methods of dealing with cardiovascular illnesses.
Doctors and scientists are hard at work conducting cardiovascular research. These studies are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective. Research on cardiovascular disease already has led to many advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective methods for dealing with this disease, including coronary artery disease and stroke.
Coronary artery disease and stroke are the first and third most common causes of death in the United States, respectively. The Holy Grail of medicine is a cure for these cardiovascular diseases. At this point, a cure does not exist; however, research scientists are studying a number of different aspects of heart disease and stroke. Current areas of focus for cardiovascular disease research include:
- Understanding the causes of cardiovascular disease at a cellular level, with the hope that this will lead to improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
- Studying cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as cholesterol, and their impact on a person's risk for developing cardiovascular disease. This includes what are considered "ideal" cholesterol levels based on other risk factors.
- Looking for other risk factors. One such possible risk factor for heart disease is called C-reactive protein, or CRP for short. CRP is a protein in the blood that shows the presence of inflammation. Inflammation is the body's response to injury. Heart disease research scientists think that high levels of CRP may be a risk factor for heart disease (see CRP Test for Heart Disease).
- Making improvements in treatments for cardiovascular disease -- for example, better ways of performing open heart surgery or angioplasty. These could also include new surgeries for stroke prevention, including stenting a carotid artery or bypassing an artery in the brain.
- Developing screening tools to help make an early diagnosis before symptoms of cardiovascular disease occur.