You may have heard about inflammation- and the holistic approaches to help reduce it- but do you really know what inflammation truly is? In the simplest way: inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to infections, stress, or toxic chemicals. To help protect your body from foreign substances, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues and flow to the area of injury or infection. This process usually brings about the familiar result of redness and warmth.
It is important to understand the risks of inflammation and how it can affect your heart. While inflammation is thought to be a sign of cardiovascular disease, it is still not proven. Researchers do know that it is closely linked with stroke and heart disease patients, and can also be associated with atherosclerosis- a chronic process that starts at birth and over time causes deleterious changes in blood vessels, leading to heart attacks, peripheral artery disease, and strokes.
Figure Courtesy of Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging
Atherosclerosis can be defined as the narrowing and hardening of the arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle and makes it essential for the heart to function properly. Developing over decades, atherosclerosis is a diffuse process damaging blood vessels. While there is a genetic predisposition, traditional risk factors, such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, mental stress, and physical inactivity are all contributing. Lifestyle plays a major role in atherosclerosis since approximately 80% of it may be preventable through healthy nutrition, exercise, and stress control.
In experimental models, atheroslcerosis involves deterioration of the endothelium, an inner lining of the artery that is only one cell thick. Inflammation, oxidative stress and autoimmunity play key roles in causing endothelial dysfunction, an early and most important event in atheroslerosis. Lifestyle effort reduces or prevents inflammation, and although this research is still in development, the evidence is strong. A recently published report on the role of ancestral diets and physical activity evaluated Tsimane tribes of the Bolivian Amazon. The researchers found a very low percentage of individuals, including those of the advanced age, with evidence of CT calcium deposits in the arteries by coronary artery scan.
At Integrative Cardiology Center of Long Island, we focus on multipronged approach to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and autoimmunity by evaluating genetic and metabolic factors as well as measuring how healthy your endothelium is through an easy office-based test called VENDYS. Our Cardiogenomic, Hormone Balance, and Fit In Your Genes Programs have reduces inflammation and improved endothelial function in many patients. To start experiencing the benefits of our unique holistic approach towards treating atherosclerosis and cardiac dysrytthmias, schedule an appointment to visit our Mineola, New York office today!