Inflammation As A Cause Of Heart Disease And Its Natural Remedies
In about 70% of heart attacks the arteries are only obstructed by about 35%. Why is this? An increasing number of scientists have come to believe that coronary heart disease is caused by inflammation. This makes the plaque more likely to rupture. This chokes off the blood supply to the heart muscle.
Where Inflammation Is Not At Work
The majority of plaques grow in a slow fashion and have small fissures that get healed and repaired over and over. Plaques that are mature my fill as much as 70 percent of the blood vessels and can cause angina pain. But these are quite stable and do not pose a big risk of a major rupture. If a clot forms here, it is more likely to do with the blood rather than the vessel wall. In this instance inflammation is not an important factor.
Where Inflammation Is At Work
Distinct from the above, vulnerable plaques are not as mature, are soft and fatty and they are covered by a much thinner fibrous cap. The narrowing of the artery is much less, as little as thirty percent, with no symptoms and invisible to an angiogram examination. If the vulnerable plaques shoud rupture, then a heart attack will be the outcome. The body will respond to these types of plaques in much the same way as they would to an infection. Here, inflammation is taking place.
Scientists believe that macrophages, a type of immune cell, enters into the artery wall to try to mop up the deposits but find themselves overwhelmed and get killed off. In so doing they add to the plaque itself, making the situation even worse. As they die they release chemicals which are poisonous to the fibrous cap and this increases the likelihood of the blood forming a clot.
Tests For Inflammation
Testing for inflammation or infection within the artery can give a better indication of heart disease than testing for cholesterol. The vast majority of people with severe atheroslerosis have cholesterol levels that are quite normal.
One marker of inflammation is fibrinogen. This can induce coronary thrombosis. People who have high levels of this inflammatory marker are more than twice at risk of death from heart attack than those that have normal levels. Supplements to reduce high levels are DHEA, vitamins C, K, A and beta carotene as well as nettle leaf extract and fish oils. The risk that fibrinogen will cause a clot can be reduced with inhibitors of platelet aggregation. These include the herbs garlic and ginkgo as well as vitamin E and green tea.
The inflammatory marker C-reactive protein raises the risk of abnormal clotting and fibrous cap rupture by three fold compared to those with low levels. Nutrients helpful in lowering this marker include GLA, fish oils, vitamin K and MSM.