This book includes the most significant contributions of the First International Symposium on "Multiple risk factors in cardiovascular disease", chaired by Professors A. V. Chobanian (Boston), A. M. Gotto Jr. (Houston), c. Lenfant (Bethesda), R. Paoletti and A. Zanchetti (Milan), held in Washington DC, 10-12 December 1990, which focused on the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and their interactions. The need for this symposium is based on the epidemiological evidence that individuals from industrialized countries often possess two or more risk factors which synergically increase the global risk profile. The evidence that isolated vascular risk factors are not commonly found in high risk patients but more often a combination of risk factors are detected, is highlighted. Many recent epidemiological data identifying the intrinsic and environ mental factors contributing to the development of atherosclerosis are discussed. These results, in parallel to basic and clinical research, underline how atherosclerosis is a complex and multifac torial process involving the influences of lipid deposition, blood pressure, rheologic forces, carbohydrate tolerance, and thrombogenic factors (fibrinogen and platelets). Atherosclerosis is markedly accelerated by other risk factors, more so in the presence of concomitant hypercholes terolemia, hypertension, diabetes, upper body obesity. Furthermore, the risk associated with anyone of these risk factors varies widely depending on level of the associated atherogenic risk factors.