Inflammation: Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions, Part 2
Inflammation as the root cause of heart disease
The first concept that pops into minds of people when they think of heart disease is cholesterol levels. Unfortunately cholesterol is not a good indicator of heart problems. As much as your doctor may try to tell you otherwise, modern independent research has proven that cholesterol levels do not indicate heart disease nor are they predictive of who will develop it. Many other factors are more predictive of heart disease, including psychosocial stress, tobacco usage, genetic predispositions and activity level. How you live your life is a determining factor of heart disease. It is important to understand how stress result to heart disease. How is it that those who are over-train (e.g.: high level runners and cross-training advocates) and the sedentary are both at higher risk for heart disease?
The truth is, inflammation is the father of all evil, being the ultimate cause of heart disease and other diseases – including some genetic ones. Let me make this point clear by stating that any links between exercise and heart disease, smoking and heart disease, genetics and heart disease and cholesterol and heart disease, all will have to include inflammation for it to be accurate. As you will see, lifestyles factors including the genetic factors become fully effective with their influence when inflammation is present. Without the inflammation, they do not cause the same expression.
Emotional Stress and Other Psycho-social Factors
As I had mention on Part 1, stress is a process where the body protects you. It works mainly by making your body stay alert. However, just like having too much of a good thing, it becomes harmful when certain limits are exceeded and it ruins the quality of your life. How then is it linked to heart disease?
First, you need to understand that stress comes in many different ways. Psychosocial stress results to a physiological inflammatory response. The body treats it as a threat and tries to suppress it, resulting in chronic inflammation.
When psychosocial stress and depression levels increases, your chances of inflammation increase. Inflammation in the lining of the artery walls causes cholesterol to be caught which eventually develops into plaque and artery disease. Without the inflammation, the same level of cholesterol would travel through the blood to the brain and nerves where it lines the nerves and keeps your brain healthy. Anxiety disorders are normally characterized by a sudden increase in inflammatory response to the psychosocial stress which is why anxious people develop aches and pains to go with it. Whether its cynicism, anger, frustration, worry, or fear you better learn to let it go since these emotions are associated with the progression of heart disease.
To find out more on how to control stress levels click the link: https://www.easthousecentre.com/resources/self-care-videos/
In my recent article (Fat Doesn’t make you fat; Sugar Does), I talked about the different types of fats, some of which are healthy and the unhealthy, commercially processed oils. The oils people are used to as a result of their busy lifestyle are the commercially processed oils. There are two misconceptions about cholesterol and foods that have confuse people:
i) Consuming cholesterol in the diet increases cholesterol levels in the blood
ii) The high levels of cholesterol in blood cause heart disease
Neither of these are true. Your cholesterol levels in blood have little to do with the cholesterol you consume in food. If you were a rabbit or a chicken though, then this would matter. We are omnivores while chicken and rabbits are mostly vegetarian; which is why their bodies are not adapted to processing dietary cholesterol. Atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of arteries) is common is such animals who are fed cholesterol containing feeds. The reason this is important is that the studies showing that cholesterol “causes” hardening of the arteries relies on studies on vegetarian animals.
The second tenet is what the science community calls the “lipid hypothesis.” Many still believe it causes heart disease, but researchers have found that the main cause of heart disease is oxidative stress and inflammation. The odd expectation concerning cholesterol levels is that the lower the cholesterol levels are the higher the death rate is likely to occur. Too low of cholesterol levels leads to an early death. So why is the medical community so strong on lowering cholesterol levels? Low cholesterol level is also now being correlated with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Your brain requires cholesterol.
If you have bought into the “low-fat” marketing and tossed the coconut oil, butter and eggs, you better start eating them again. Increasing weight rapidly is as a result of sugar levels in the body. To learn more about how junk food leads to your thirst for sugar click the link: (Fat Doesn’t make you fat; Sugar Does)
People had a general notion that if heart disease ran in your family, you were destined to develop it yourself soon. This theory is fifty-fifty, and I will tell you why.
Genetics only represent a small fraction of the overall factors resulting to heat disease. As you have seen above, other risk factors can be modified to decrease chances of developing the heart disease and this applies to genetic factors as well.
Smoking, poor diet, inactive lifestyle and your emotional behavior risk factors that trigger an inflammatory response will cause genetic expression to reveal your genetic predisposition. Even though you may be more vulnerable, your lifestyle will either trigger or diminish that expression. The inflammatory response is the trigger.
Doing the right type of exercise and not overdoing them will work effectively to reduce systemic inflammation. On the other hand, doing too much of the right exercises or choosing the wrong exercise will increase it. Over training has been associated with inflammation and heart disease. In my opinion poor management of exercise-related inflammation is just as serious as no exercise.
Exercise can protect your heart disease by increasing the shear stress on artery walls. That is beneficial, so next time you are training for muscles, remember you are exercising your arterial walls as well. Too much pressure causes inflammation, and the resulting factor is heart disease.
Remember, your heart is your responsibility and if you provide for it your heart will always give back to you.
I hope you now know and understood that inflammation is the major contributor of heart disease and other common diseases as well. What you need to work on as an individual is the
management of inflammation in relation to your heart’s health. You can now tell others that inflammation is the actual cause of heart disease, and not the much talked about “bacon” or “cholesterol.” Avoid the stress of chemical toxins in the liver (think statin medications) because it is the liver that creates the good cholesterol that your brain need.
Clean your liver, deal with your emotional stresses; eat a healthy balanced diet that reduces sugars and grains, chemicals, and processed foods, exercise regularly but moderately focusing on muscles strength and flexibility rather than long cardio-vascular workouts. These are the keys to reducing heart disease.
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