Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis. It is a process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of medium-sized and large arteries resulting from deposition of atheromatous plaques containing cholesterol and lipids on the innermost arterial layers. Atherosclerosis is responsible for much coronary artery disease and many strokes. Apolipoprotein E is important for removing excess cholesterol from the blood by carrying cholesterol to receptors on the surface of liver cells. Defects in this protein increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Most common risk factors include high levels of cholesterol, hypertension, smoking, diabetes and a genetic family history of atherosclerotic disease.
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