Deborah is 56 years old, smokes half a pack of cigarettes a day, and is overweight. Her friend wants her to come to a local women’s fitness class she attends to once a week. She knows Deborah’s dad had died an acute myocardial infarction when he was 56, and she fears, seeing Deborah’s lifestyle, the same fate awaits her friend. What she did not know was that Deborah had also been to her doctor for her annual physical where she was told her LDLs were 180 mg/dL, HDLs were 36 mg/dL, and cholesterol was 239 mg/dL (Learning Objectives 3 and 4).

  1. What are Deborah’s known risk factors for coronary heart disease?
  2. Deborah’s doctor referred her to a dietician for strict dietary therapy, hoping the intervention would raise her HDL and lower her LDL and cholesterol levels. Why is diet modification necessary to control and moderate the lipids indicated?
  3. Deborah’s doctor also gave her pamphlets describing strategies to stop smoking and a list of exercise ideas she might want to try. How is smoking thought to contribute to atherosclerotic plaque formation? Why would exercise have a positive effect on Deborah’s lipid profile?

Atherosclerosis is thought to be an inflammatory disorder. What is the role of macrophages in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques? What is the significance of elevated serum hs-CRP levels in at-risk individuals?

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