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Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of premature death and disability in the UK, and is a major contributor to the escalating costs of health care. In most cases, atherosclerosis is the underlying pathology. Atherosclerosis develops insidiously over many years and is usually advanced by the time that patients develop symptoms; death, myocardial infarction, and stroke frequently occur suddenly, often before patients can access medical care.
Therefore the case for adopting an early preventive approach is a strong one. Fortunately, it is well established that the occurrence of cardiovascular disease relates strongly to lifestyle and modifiable physiological factors. Modification of these risk factors has been …