Cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to atherosclerosis of the arterial vessel wall and to thrombosis is the foremost cause of premature mortality and of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in Europe, and is also increasingly common in developing countries.1 In the European Union, the economic cost of CVD represents annually E192 billion1 in direct and indirect healthcare costs. The main clinical entities are coronary artery disease (CAD), ischaemic stroke, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The causes of these CVDs are multifactorial. Some of these factors relate to lifestyles, such as tobacco smoking, lack of physical activity, and dietary habits, and are thus modifiable. Other risk factors are also modifiable, such as elevated blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and dyslipidaemias, or non-modifiable, such as age and male gender. These guidelines deal with the management of dyslipidaemias as an essential and integral part of CVD prevention. Prevention and treatment of dyslipidaemias should always be considered within the broader framework of CVD prevention, which is addressed in guidelines of the Joint European Societies’ Task forces on CVD prevention in clinical practice.2 – 5 The latest version of these guidelines was published in 20075; an update will become available in 2012. These Joint ESC/European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) guidelines on the management of dyslipidaemias are complementary to the guidelines on CVD prevention in clinical practice and address not only physicians [e.g. general practitioners (GPs) and cardiologists] interested in CVD prevention, but also specialists from lipid clinics or metabolic units who are dealing with dyslipidaemias that are more difficult to classify and treat.
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