Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.


Inflammation and Artery Damage

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 09:29 AM

With heart disease, understanding inflammation is important because it is the trigger that sets off artery damage. It also sustains the artery-hardening effect. So what are the causes of inflammation in an artery?

The No. 1 source of inflammation in the body is a bad diet. That explains why hardening of the arteries has become an epidemic only in the last 100 years — our diet has changed dramatically in that time.

For much of human history, we were hunter-gatherers. That meant the human diet consisted of only what could be caught or harvested. The food supply varied from week to week and from season to season. There were times of plenty and times of need. The body had to store extra calories as fat to get through those lean times.

Today, we live a life of constant plenty. Everyone has a kitchen full of food all the time, and long before supplies get low, we drive to the supermarket for more.

And what do we buy when we get there? Refined foods that are convenient to store and eat, and all of which are full of sugar, salt, and fat to make them taste good. Such foods are also high in omega-6 fats that promote inflammation. The body is forced to store all those excess calories as fat.

That’s what it’s supposed to do, but the lean times never come. The result? Lots of belly fat. When you have a large, protruding belly, it means that you have what is known as visceral fat, which is fat deposits around your organs. That causes high risks for heart disease and hardening of the arteries.

Belly fat is dangerous because it releases what I call “inflammation mediators” into the bloodstream. These are chemicals that cause inflammation in the arteries, leading to artery damage. All the time you are maintaining belly fat, these mediators are circulating in your system and damaging your arteries.

When I travel to Third World countries on medical relief and mission trips, I rarely see people with belly fat. If there is a fat person, it’s usually the richest person in the village, because they are the only ones who can afford to overeat. And they are the ones with modern diseases like hardening of the arteries.

© HealthDay

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Tuesday, 08 March 2011 09:29 AM
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