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[Genetic factors for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus: an overview.]

Erfelijke factoren voor hart- en vaatziekten en diabetes mellitus: een inventarisatie


Recent developments in molecular biology have stimulated research into the genetic basis of human diseases. At first, most attention was focussed at monogenetic diseases. However, especially chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus are important from a public health point of view: the number of patients is large, rates increase with aging of the population, mortality is high, as are the health care costs. Until now, the incidence of these diseases can only be explained for a 50% at maximum. The remaining percentage can probably be explained by still unknown factors, of which genetic factors seem to be the most important. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are both chronic diseases, with a multifactorial origin. Insight into the genetic basis of these diseases and the way genetic information is expressed and revealed by environmental and lifestyle factors, is of main importance for the future prevention of these disorders. In this overview attention was paid to the process of atherosclerosis, and to the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is clear that studies should first focus on the biological intermediates of these processes. From the literature study it appears that studies into the genetics of lipoprotein metabolism may be especially fruitful regarding atherosclerosis. There are sufficient possibilities to study the interaction with lifestyle factors such as diet.

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