Chronic inflammation and heart disease are far too often, traveling companions. In fact many of the conditions highlighted within the pages under the cardiovascular system button can be directly tied to this not so well known combination.
There is a great deal of research that verifies inflammation as a major driver of Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and cancer. And it is also a big contributor to the leading cause of death in America, which is of course heart disease.
You are probably familiar with acute inflammation. Think about what happens when you cut your finger. Your body sends out an army of white blood cells to heal the injured area. Redness and swelling occur for a while, until the wound is healed.
It is somewhat different when an injury occurs deep inside your body. Smoking or bad diet put excessive pressure on coronary arteries for example. So if the white blood cells are dispatched too often, they just take up residency in the affected area. Instead of healing, these cells actually add to the damage.
Even worse they can break off and travel within the blood stream to other organs of the body and cause new pockets of chronic inflammation.
Blood vessels that are inflamed are perfect places for clots to form. And if that clot should rupture it could easily to lead to a heart attack.
Stress is another contributor to the growth of inflammation. When you're in high stress situations you body may release hormones or chemicals to trigger the immune system into action which can cause the onset or aggravation of autoimmune diseases. These conditions are best described as your body battling itself.
Some of those autoimmune diseases would include...
Rheumatoid Arthritis is very common and causes progressive, chronic inflammation of joints. It also increases the risk of heart disease by 50%.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect nearly every organ in your body. People with this condition are leading candidates for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In fact heart disease is the leading cause of death for those with lupus.
Ulcerative colitis causes bleeding and inflammation within the colon.
Crohn's disease causes inflammation and bleeding in many parts of the digestive system.
I'll include belly fat in this area as well even though it isn't an autoimmune disease. But it does lead to dangerous chronic inflammation because of its interaction with other biological functions within your body.
Gum disease is one of the biggest underlying causes of inflammation. Periodontal disease allows for bacteria pockets to grow near your gum line. This bacteria can seep into the blood stream and travel to the heart causing chronic inflammation there. Your dentist could be a first line of defense in protecting your cardiovascular system.
How can you reduce the risk of inflammation? For starters try to avoid or least greatly reduce quantities of...
Pre-packaged foods with artificial flavors and preservatives.
Deep fried food and processed food such as pepperoni or hot dogs
Foods made with excessive sugar, unhealthy fats,(there are healthy fats), and salt.
Highly refined grains
Foods derived from genetically modified organisms
Foods from confined animal feeding operations
Here are some foods and a vitamin that reduce inflammation...
The Mediterranean diet is high in nuts, fish, fruits, vegetables and healthy oils and fats which will reduce inflammation.
Nearly all fresh fruit is good and cherries are especially effective as inflammation reducers. And they taste great. Here in Michigan, we have a good supply in the summer.
Daily vitamin C . This is really an old method, having been promoted by Linus Pauling many years ago. But now modern medicine is getting on board as well. We are already told to seek plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and get some vitamin C for the common cold. Now it is proven to reduce the levels of C-reactive protein which in turn lowers inflammation.
Vitamin C is so important as an inflammation fighter that I wrote an entire page on this subject. You'll find a reference to Linus Pauling's book "How To Live Longer And Feel Better." You'll also read how Dr. Chauncey Crandall describes those older ideas about Vitamin C as being correct all along.
In this page, you'll find more very good information about chronic inflammation and how to avoid it.
Having even one of the sources of inflammation listed in this page can greatly increase your risk of heart disease. Chronic inflammation isn't just a passing thing. It's clear that it is a major cause of many cardiovascular system diseases. It is also clear that with proper diet, an effective exercise regimen, some consistent relaxation methods and avoidance of tobacco of all kinds, inflammation can be avoided.