Heart Disease and Silent Inflammation

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heart disease

Heart Disease and Silent Inflammation

One of the best ways to live a longer and better life is to reduce your chances of dying from heart disease.

If we could eliminate heart disease tomorrow, the average life expectancy of every American would increase by about 10 years.

Although mortality from heart disease has decreased because of medical advances, heart disease is on the rise.

More of us are getting heart disease because we aren’t doing enough to address the underlying cause:  inflammation in your arteries.

Rather than hoping for some new surgery or drug, why not just avoid getting heart disease in the first place?

We’re led to believe high cholesterol causes heart disease.

As a result we’ve declared war on dietary cholesterol, which also means a war on dietary fat.

The result of this dietary approach has been an epidemic of obesity.

That’s why the medical community has shifted focus to reducing blood cholesterol to the lowest levels possible.

Not surprisingly, the most profitable drugs (statins) are the main weapons in this war.

But what if cholesterol were only a minor, secondary player in heart disease?

Protecting yourself against heart disease means more than just simply lowering your cholesterol levels.

In fact, 50% of people hospitalized with heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.

And, 25% of people who develop premature heart attacks have no risk factors at all.

So if elevated cholesterol isn’t the primary cause of heart disease, what is?

Silent Inflammation = Bad Heart

A heart attack is simply the death of the muscle cells in your heart due to a lack of oxygen caused by a constriction in blood flow.

If this lack of oxygen is prolonged and enough heart muscle cells die, your heart attack is fatal.

There are several things able to stop oxygen flow to your heart.

A rupture could happen in a piece of unstable plaque lining your artery wall.

This causes the activation of platelets, which clump together and block blood flow.

You could have a spasm in your artery blocking blood flow to your heart.

More often, it’s due to an electrical flutter, which disrupts normal beating and causes your heart to stop functioning altogether.

None of these heart attack causes has much to do with increased cholesterol levels, but they have everything to do with silent inflammation.

A variety of things link silent inflammation and fatal heart attacks.

First of all, pro-inflammatory eicosanoids inside an unstable plaque can trigger inflammation increasing the likelihood of rupture.

Often, these unstable plaques are so small they can’t be detected by conventional means like an angiogram.

When the plaque bursts, cellular debris is released and platelets rush to the site to try to fix the rupture, just as they would a wound.

New blood clots may plug up the artery, stopping blood flow completely.

This helps explain why many people don’t die of heart attacks even though they have highly clogged arteries, whereas others do even though they have seemingly normal arteries.

It all depends on the level of inflammation in these small, unstable plaques.

These same pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are also the culprits behind vasospasm, the second cause of fatal heart attacks.

Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are powerful constrictors of your arteries and can lead to a vasospasm, a potentially fatal cramp preventing blood flow to your heart.

As if all this weren’t enough, a lack of sufficient levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in your heart muscle can also lead to a fatal heart attack.

This condition, called sudden death, accounts for more than 50% of all fatal heart attacks.

In order to pump blood effectively, your heart muscle contracts and relaxes in a timed manner, which is controlled by an electrical current.

The lack of oxygen to your heart muscle cells can cause disruptions of the rhythmic contractions of your heart until it stops beating altogether.

In animal studies, giving high doses of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids blocks the calcium channels in the heart cells even if the heart cells are deprived of oxygen.

Come join us on our natural weight loss journey!  We’d love to have you along!

Have an awesome day!

(Based on Dr. Barry Sears’ “The Anti-Inflammation Zone”)

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Dick and Lenay

email: lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657

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