Prospective epidemiologic studies have identified several risk factors for heart disease, and most can be the target of risk reduction interventions. The most widely recognized risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) include age, gender, cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle, elevated LDL, reduced HDL, hypertension, and diabetes. The consistency of associations between these factors and ASCVD risk across populations is substantial.
Our understanding of the pathogenesis and etiology of coronary ASCVD, as well as its clinical implications, has grown tremendously over the past 20 y. The role garlic might play in treating ASCVD has been postulated for many years, but until recently no studies on garlic's ability to inhibit the atherosclerotic process have been reported. A pilot study evaluating coronary artery calcification and the effect of garlic therapy in a group of patients who were also on statin therapy suggested incremental benefits. The implications of this study must be put in context of the potential importance of early atherosclerosis detection and prevention.