Inflammation and atherosclerosis: What do they have in common?
Chronic inflammation makes atherosclerosis worse. Just like an infection that starts off small, if not taken care of can get worse over time. So will atherosclerosis.
Is this disease a common one?
YES! It is a common vascular disease that is known as atherosclerosis which increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks and is the leading cause of death in the United States.
There is 80 million Americans that have cardovascular disease. Can you just imagine the toll that takes on a your health.
The main characteristic of this disease is that it causes a hardening of the arteries over time largely due to the buildup of plaques – calcium, cholesterol, cells, fibrous tissue, fat, proteins and other materials – on the inner or “endothelial” walls of the arteries.
What leads to this buildup of plaque?
One of the main causes of this buildup is in a person’s diet. Now that we are in the days of fast food and much of what we consume is greasy or fried, it is no wonder that heart attack and stroke is the #1 killer in the United States!
Therefore our circulatory system health is very important to all of us.
Therefore what can help us with our heart health?
It relaxes the blood vessels tone and flexablilty. This reduces stress on the heart. Improves circulation, [blood flow] and helps lower blood pressure.
What is the plaque buildup like?
These plaques have a feeling likened to cartilage when touched which explains why this disease is commonly known as hardening of the arteries. As this plaque buildup continues, the inside of the artery shrinks thus reducing the flow of blood in the artery. The restriction of blood flow can often be severe.
In case the surface of the plaque should rupture, clotting could be initiated which would result in the complete blockage of the vessel. When this process happens to occur within the coronary arteries, the result is a myocardial infarction which is better known as a heart attack.
Heart attacks may also result from a rupture of the plaque and an obstruction in the flow of blood. When this involves the carotid arteries (the artery that goes up the side of your neck) the patient may have no real symptoms or he or she may feel faint and lightheaded, may experience weakness of the hands, may have a transient loss of vision in either eye, may lose the ability to speak for a time and may even experience a stroke.
High cholesterol is the main factor associated with atherosclerosis, but that is not the whole story. There are many people who have high cholesterol and never develop atherosclerosis. Other factors are clearly involved in the development of this disease.
What are they?
Over the last several years, there has been mounting evidence that inflammation and atherosclerosis go hand in hand.
Also, a number of infectious agents, namely bacteria, are known to contribute to atherosclerosis. In other cases, microbial components have been located in atherosclerotic lesions but these are rare occasions.
Epidemiological evidence leads to the suggestion that people who have chronic infections tend to have more atherosclerosis. Periodontitis, is a known gum disease.(Periodontitis is infection that can destroy the tissue, and eventually the bone that support you teeth.) This is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Again, that links inflammation and atherosclerosis.
Recent research denotes that inflammation plays a very important role in CAD or coronary artery disease and other symptoms of atherosclerosis. This is just another stance where inflammation and atherosclerosis go hand in hand.
The immune cells certainly dominate early atherosclerotic lesions, the effector molecules hasten the progression of the lesions, and the activation of inflammation can bring on acute coronary syndromes.
This review highlights the role that inflammation and atherosclerosis play in coronary artery disease. It gives evidence that atherosclerosis, which is the main cause of coronary artery disease, is indeed an inflammatory disease.
Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your Doctor. The information is for educational purposes. All health conditions should be treated by a health practitioner. This site is not meant to dispense medical advice, and does not assume responsibility for those who choose to treat themselves.