Since nitrotyrosine levels can be detected in the blood, it may also be possible to one day develop a test that could both detect and track the development of atherosclerosis, the researchers added.
What about using statins to prevent organ damage?
Dr. John C. LaRosa, president of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, New York City, said it's a possibility.
"Statins improve flow rates in the kidney and may delay or prevent deterioration of kidney function in older adults," he said. "Statins also improve retinal [eye] blood flow in diabetics and may deter diabetic eye disease. These effects are currently under investigation, however, and are not current indications for statin use."
Dr. Alan Kadish, associate director of the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute in Chicago, said when it comes to atherosclerosis, prevention is the best cure.
"At the present time, the best thing patients can do is understand that atherosclerosis can have bad effects, even some that are still being identified, and adhere to exercise, diet and lifestyle modifications that will decrease their risk of developing atherosclerosis," he said.
For more on atherosclerosis, go to American Heart Association.
SOURCES: John C. LaRosa, M.D., president, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, New York City; Alan Kadish, M.D., associate director, Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute, Chicago; Rita K. Upmacis, Ph.D., associate research professor, pathology and laboratory medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York City; April 9, 2008, presentation, American Chemical Society
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