It’s certainly the battlecry of the general practitioner and the word heard most frequently around the subject of heart disease. In fact it’s heard so often that all the other equally important factors seem to be in the shade of the almighty ‘C” word. I’m not going to talk about whether or not cholesterol is the problem we are told it is.. that’d take too long and I might get over-excited. But I would like to look at the other factors.. and a common symptom of all of them. What about tobacco usage, psychosocial stress, activity level, or genetic predisposition? These are all heart disease factors. But exactly how do they contribute to heart disease?
Ask most doctors and they’ll agree that beyond all of them, inflammation is the root cause of a heart attack. All of the factors create inflammation, which in turn, creates the conditions that may precipitate a heart attack.
A simple explanation of the relationship between smoking and inflammation is to show what happens when a smoker stops smoking, as in this Reuters article, which describes a study by Dr. Christine N. Metz and her team. Very simply, researchers watched inflammation markers during a smokers’ ‘quit’ program. And yes, inflammation levels dropped quickly. If you need further evidence of the effect of inhaling hot tar-filled smoke into your fragile internal environment, this study shows the direct link between smoking, inflammation and heart disease. The study even slates passve smoking, saying :
“Passive smoke itself, is a volatile mixture of numerous toxins, chemicals and carcinogens, that interact with in vivo mechanisms and induce vascular damage, including endothelium inflammation, atherosclerosis development, lipid peroxidisation, alterations in cytokines and acute phase proteins (such as CRP), as well as platelet aggravation.”
Another PubMed study links smoking directly to inflammation and atherosclerotic plaque. In other words, big chunks of plaque that can break off with a good cough and block an artery – with fairly obvious results. This study showed the possibility of inflammation AND plaque combining to create an ‘event’.
Stress and Inflammation
It’s now shown that stress of all kinds creates an inflammation response. It’s interesting because we have learned to ‘control’ stress in daily life, but I wonder just what levels we are faced with compared to our ancestors. The stress of climate change, of financial system collapse, of job insecurity don’t go away. They remain an enduring part of what we have to manage every day. This report demonstrates that it is the repetition of stress that causes inflammation.. but it actually describes an example of chronic inflammatory response as atherosclerosis.
There are even studies that link anger and cynicism to inflammation.
Summarizing, this paper links stress events via inflammation to heart attacks. “The argument is made that humans reacting to stressors, which are not life-threatening but are “perceived” as such, mount similar stress/inflammatory responses in the arteries, and which, if repetitive or chronic, may culminate in atherosclerosis.” In reading up on this subject you’ll come across another term ‘Oxidative stress’. Oxidative stress is what happens as a result of inflammation. As Sang Whang said in ’Reverse Aging‘, inflammation and acids go hand in hand. Oxidation of tissue is caused by the acids that gather in inflamed sites. The stress load of oxidation travels, and as acid, it oxidises our good cholesterol, our LDL. The problem is.. oxidised LDL becomes plaque.
If we had one study describing the relationship of inflammation to heart attack we may be able to dismiss it, but when we see so many, all saying the same thing.. that inflammation and heart disease are inextricably linked, it’s probably time to take notice.
I’m not qualified to advise on heart disease. I’m a layman like most of my readers, and you should consult your medical practitioner before acting upon any of my crazy theories..
However it certainly seems to me that the circuitbreaker between inflammation and oxidative stress may just be something as simple as a constant program of maintaining a healthy pH balance. Given that water is one of the body’s first line tools for draining acids from sites of inflammation, it seems reasonable to me that alkaline microclustered water just may assist. As my readers know, I am not permitted by law to make any therapeutic claims, nor am I permitted to relate the many stories of our clients.
So I guess you’ll just have to research the subject yourself, won’t you?