Hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis also, is the true number one cause of heart disease and can result in heart attack, stroke, and loss of life successful treatment . Results are published in the April 9 problem of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Nabel, M.D., NHLBI director. For the first time, we have proof that aggressively lowering LDL cholesterol and blood circulation pressure can in fact reverse damage to the arteries in middle-aged adults with diabetes. All individuals were American Indians 40 years or older who had diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure but no past history of coronary attack or other evidence of heart disease.