Tags: heart disease | attacks | inflammation | link

Heart Disease and Attacks: The Inflammation Link

By    |   Sunday, 19 October 2014 01:23 PM

An inflammation in the heart can potentially lead to heart disease or even a heart attack. 

Doctors say to understand the connection it is helpful to think about the inflammation in the heart similarly to any other swelling you may have experienced in your body. We are all familiar with swelling that happens when we have some kind of injury or infection. 

A person with certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease is dealing with a situation where their heart is getting "injured" on a regular basis. That damage leads to inflammation and a build-up of plaque in the heart arteries. That build-up of plaque creates a blockage which can cause a heart attack.

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According to experts at the National Heart and Lung Institute, inflammation is considered an "emerging" cause for heart disease. Research on the subject is relatively new and ongoing. For now, is appears to be among the many factors that can contribute to coronary heart disease. The inflammation may be related to a variety of causes, including diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, low bone density, and folic acid and vitamin B6 deficiencies. It could also be caused by activities that damage the heart, such as smoking.

Once the inflammation is present, doctors believe it could actually help promote the plaque build-up that causes heart disease and can lead to heart attacks.

The American Heart Association advises there is not yet a clinically proven, clear cause and effect relationship between inflammation and heart attacks. However, evidence shows it is becoming an important link for patients to understand.

In talking to the American Heart Association, Dr. Deepak Bhatt, chief of cardiology for the VA Boston Healthcare System, explained, "Exactly how inflammation plays a role in heart attack and stroke remains a topic of ongoing research. It appears that the inciting event in many heart attacks and some forms of stroke is buildup of fatty, cholesterol-rich plaque in blood vessels." 

Medicines that reduce inflammation are currently under clinical trials to see if they also reduce the risk of heart attack.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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An inflammation in the heart can potentially lead to heart disease or even a heart attack.
heart disease, attacks, inflammation, link
Sunday, 19 October 2014 01:23 PM
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