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Understanding Your Inflammatory Status

The Annals of Cardiology No.29 | Understanding Your Inflammatory Status

You can read the introduction below or read the full version here.

How many drugs do you have in the house to suppress inflammation? Here’s a list from a walk-around I did this morning: aspirin (outdated, from days when it was popular for primary prevention), Advil (someone else’s), Indocin (last years slipped disc, gracias Dr. Peckett), Arcoxia (shoulder bursitis the year before), hydrocortisone cream (various rashes – don’t ask), Voltaren gel (knees), QVar asthma inhaler (left behind by Christmas guest) and four crumbling prednisone tablets (poison ivy, 2016) – I should really throw those away. If you have an organ transplant or an inflammatory disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, your list might also include methotrexate, plaquenil, and Cellcept.

No matter how you look at it, we spend a lot of money suppressing inflammation.

But, have you considered the effect of inflammation on your heart? If someone asked what causes atherosclerosis – blockages in the heart’s blood vessels – the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is cholesterol. But in fact, the correct answer is vascular injury and inflammation. You’ve heard the expression “smooth as a baby’s bottom”? Well, at birth the inner lining of your blood vessels – the endothelium – is smooth as a baby’s bottom – it’s a glistening layer of cells. When, for one reason or another, the endothelium becomes inflamed, the artery’s lining becomes ragged, pocked, and frayed, providing the opportunity for cholesterol and other gunk to slide in, and now you’ve got a plaque. I think of it as vascular acne.

Continued in the full newsletter…

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