Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including heart attacks, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and high blood pressure, are among the leading causes of mortality worldwide. And there is one underlying factor that is common to all cardiovascular problems: inflammation.
This article delves into the relationship between inflammation and cardiovascular diseases, offering insights into how we can do something to stop this problem.
What is inflammation?: The Body’s Double-Edged Sword
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection, a process designed to heal and protect. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can contribute to the development of various diseases, including CVDs. Chronic inflammation can be triggered by a range of factors that I call violations of Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well.
How inflammation leads to disease
1. Atherosclerosis Development: One of the key mechanisms linking inflammation to heart disease is the role it plays in atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Inflammatory cells contribute to the formation and destabilization of these plaques. When plaques rupture, they can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
2. Endothelial Dysfunction: Chronic inflammation adversely affects the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels. This can lead to reduced nitric oxide availability, a critical factor in vessel dilation, increasing the risk of hypertension, heart attack and stroke.
3. Arrhythmia and Atrial Fibrillation: Inflammation can also affect the electrical system of the heart, leading to arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. Inflammatory processes can alter the heart tissue, disrupting normal electrical conduction.
4. Heart Failure: Chronic inflammation has been implicated in the progression to heart failure. It can lead to cardiac remodeling and fibrosis, adversely affecting the heart’s ability to pump effectively.
5. Coagulation: Inflammation leads to “sticky blood”, thus disrupting the natural anticoagulation system of the body. This leads to excess risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), heart attack and stroke.
Testing for Inflammation
Research has identified several biomarkers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), that are associated with an increased risk of CVD events. These biomarkers offer potential in risk assessment and in tailoring preventive strategies for individuals at risk. These are simple blood and urine tests that any doctor can order.
If you want the most advanced testing, see our Level 1 and Level 2 tests that include several markers of inflammation.
Inflammation-Reducing Strategies for CVD Prevention
We follow the method of Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well. Eat the right foods, avoid the wrong foods. Start with heavy doses of wild seafood and pasture-raised animals. Eat eggs, avocado and coconut. Avoid artificial foods and avoid gluten-containing foods. Live a healthy lifestyle by getting adequate sleep, sunshine and physical activity. Avoid environmental toxins. And find your happy. Unhealthy thoughts lead to inflammation by disrupting the natural healing process.
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