"Studies Provide Strongest Eviden For Causative Role of Inflammation"

"Studies Provide Strongest Evidence To Date For Causative Role of Inflammation in Heart Disease"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2012/03/15/studies-provide-stronges t-evidence-to-date-for-causative-role-of-inflammation-in-heart-disease/

It's hard not to wonder if these studies showing that inflammation plays a major role in heart disease are being released widely now because the research also seems to be pointing to the potential for Big Pharma to devlop drugs to treat it. (This Forbes story is just one of a few dozen released the past day)

After all, there's been little money to be made up until now from the connection...Pfizer et al did not get rich selling baby aspirin...

Edited March 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Report post

18 replies. Join the discussion

Can't get the article with the given address.

Report post

Velda, I hope this link works. If not I could paste the entire post, or you could try putting the title into Google News.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2012/03/15/studies-provide-stronges t-evidence-to-date-for-causative-role-of-inflammation-in-heart-disease/

Report post

That worked, thanks. And to your thinking about potential financial gain with a drug that may reduce inflammation with, of course, unknown side effects------this is where we always end up.
We just don't want to make the life changes that bring about the results that we say we want.
I would venture to say that most people with heart disease could reverse their disease without making anyone rich. I don't think it makes good sense to only isolate factors in relation to disease.
Inflammation has many causes, our deadly toxic diet, sugar and more sugar, obesity, stress, drugs prescribed for many of our ailments etc etc.
I take responsibility for my SCAD and HA. There may be some genetic weakness in that area of my LAD but I doubt it. I am thinking that my lifelong affair with weight loss and gain, my propensity to eat lots of sugar and too much fat and my stressful struggle with the emtional/psychological aspects of my life have led me to where I am. My 35 year comittment to exercise and plenty of healthy food may be why it took 63 years for me to blow an artery.
I have excellent blood chemistry but that is not the whole picture.
So back to the article. Science and drug companies want to make a drug to reduce inflammation so we all can just keep killing, or usually dibilitating ourselves, without doing and eating what really is effective. And then we'll need another drug to treat the side effects of the first drug and on it goes. I know there is great value and use for drugs but not for most of what ails us.
And the conversation will continue. Laurie

Report post

I could not agree more. People don't want to take responsibility for causing their own disease. I am like you...a lifelong love affair with sugar, fat, etc....up and down weight struggles. Living in modern society where we don't really have to physically WORK for our food, easy drive through instant gratification fast food, sugary drinks instead of good old water, it is no wonder heart disease is the #1 killer. And the STRESS, I am 57 in September, I have lived a LIFE of high stress, have PTSD, just got rid of my 26 year nightmare marriage, lost 40 pounds. Now I eat ONLY when I am hungry, and ONLY eat things that are NOT processed. I rarely cook anymore, no red meats, fish sometimes, take vitamins regularly. Am just wondering when the last 56 years of stress are going to get me - if it will be cancer or heart attack. I DO know I am not going to WORRY about it, because that just adds to the stress!! lol

I am a nurse and quit adult health because I got sick and tired of seeing adults coming into the ER with heart attacks and lung disease: 9 out of ten times they were about 40 pounds overweight, smoked, never exercised....I had a hard time feeling sympathy...lifestyle catches up with you eventually.

Some people do have "bad genes" and get diseases handed down to them, those people I do have sympathy for.

But not for people who smoke even where the pack SAYS RIGHT THERE it is BAD for you...and for people who eat huge meals and junk food and never exercise...the human body is meant to live long, but not if it is abused constantly.

It isn't rocket science.

Report post

I saw a story like that on Yahoo--http://news.yahoo.com/inflammation-might-play-role-heart-disease-study-1604 07869.html

Linus Pauling, a famous Nobel prize winner (twice) said several years ago that coronary artery disease was caused by inflammation and everyone laughed at him. He thought it was sort of an internal scurvy from not enough vitamin c, as primates make their own vitamin c and have 900 times the amount in their bodies as humans, who do not make their own vitamin c, but must get it from foods. He also thought lysine supplementation would help heal. I know my husband takes lysine for white blisters he gets in his mouth, which seem to flare up when he is stressed, and says that it helps speed the healing. He has told me that within 2 days they will be gone, whereas, before he started taking lysine when these appeared, he would have them sometimes for weeks or even months.

I guess it all depends on whether you buy into evolution or not--that we are all descended from apes.

Here's a link that explains Pauling's theory: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/03/28/linus-pauling .aspx

Report post

All of these studies confuse me more. If inflammation is really a cause for heart disease, and I have no reason to think it's not, then why are anti-inflammatory meds bad for heart patients? My knees are really acting up and my dr said only to use tylenol which does absolutely nothing for me.

Report post

I don't know for sure, but, perhaps it has to do with prostaglandins. Anti-inflammatories are generally COX-1 or COX-2 inhibitors.

Prostaglandins whose synthesis involves the cyclooxygenase-I enzyme, or COX-1, are responsible for maintenance and protection of the gastrointestinal tract, while prostaglandins whose synthesis involves the cyclooxygenase-II enzyme, or COX-2, are responsible for inflammation and pain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COX-2_inhibitor

Prostaglandins are necessary to keep the stomach lining healthy, so perhaps, they are also necessary to keep the lining of other areas of the body healthy (such as the heart and arteries)? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostaglandin

I have noticed that when I take too much aspirin, my heart begins to race and palpitate.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/12/astaxanthin-t he-antiinflammatory-nutrient.aspx

I think we all have to use common sense and pay attention to what our body is telling us, even if the doctor discounts our symptoms. I have found my local pharmacist to be far more knowledgeable about the side effects and interactions of pharmaceutical drugs and even supplements than doctors.

When our body is inflamed, we take something to calm the inflammation down--but, we don't continue taking this after the inflammation has calmed down. Our body has a wonderful ability to heal itself if given the right diet, exercise, stress reduction--and, yes, when injured, extra help through medicines and/or supplements.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Report post

I really appreciate this discussion and agree with the general comments here regarding causation, the role of sugar in inflammation and other conditions that compromise body tissue and functions, etc. Because I gave up sugar 21 years ago as part of a wholesale diet transformation to vegetarian, mostly fruits and vegetables, beans/legumes, with some whole grains, etc., plus added daily stress reduction practices to my life, I feel I staved off health problems for those 2 decades (like Velda, I had my SCAD HAs at age 63). But, having had those heart events - a total shock to say the least! - I've been taking a hard and thorough look at where I still need to make changes. So I refined my diet even further, and I've increased my physical activity. i've seen how that has gradually declined the past decade, due to telecommuting work as a writer/communications consultant and founder of a women's spirituality organization that I led for 8 years. Was on this computer all the time, especially for the years I had clients on both coasts and overseas. It's still hard to not be on my computer alot, as a writer, but I am planning to buy the new iPad, that has built-in voice dictation, so I can be more portable as I work, move around more - and also, I'm getting one of those standing desks so when I do need to be on my laptop, I can vary from sitting to standing easily, which I need due to being at high risk for osteoporosis (family history).

I know there may be other factors contributing to why my blood vessels are compromised - family history of poor circulation/varicose veins for example - but I am convinced the huge amounts of sugar I ate and drank those first 4 decades of my life are at least partially responsible. I would be curious to see how many other SCAD survivors had a high sugar intake diet (including sugary drinks like juices, not just soda).

Report post

There is an interesting paperback which I purchased from amazon.com called The Inflammation Free Diet Plan by Monica Rienagel with a consulting editor, Julius Torelli, MD. This shows the inflammatory potential and anti inflammatory potential of most foods in our diet, and how to balance them so that we can still enjoy eating, but also not push ourselves over the inflammation edge by only eating inflammatory foods.

Report post

Thank you, all, for contributing so many interesting thoughts and useful leads.

@Tara45, thank you for your post recommending the anti-inflammation diet book, "The Inflammation Free Diet Plan" by Monica Reinagel.

It prompted me to go find the link to the free, exhaustive, nutrition database, for all every kind of food, that I've been using for some time to keep track of calories as well as vitamin and mineral info, etc.

This site also charts the inflammatory level of every food (& spice!) listed. It's called NutritionData.com (and now appears to be part of Self Magazine's site) and is not only free, but can be added to your search engine.

Here's a link to "almonds" for example. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3085/2

Scroll down and you will see the inflammatory/anti-inflammatory chart on the left. If you also click on "details" below the other databases - ie. "Minerals" or "Protein & Amino Acids" or "Fatty Acids" et al - a complete list of all elements will drop down.

The site is superb. And when I went to expand its explanation of "inflammation response, it came up with this detailed page of information about inflammation and the inflammation factor: http://nutritiondata.self.com/help/inflammation

By the way, this ND page also recommends for further information "The Inflammation Free Diet Plan" by Monica Reinagel that Tara45 suggested.

They also suggest visiting the authors' website: InflammationFactor.com.

But for a start, and for free, I highly recommend NutritionData.com for a start - not only is it free, but I've found it the most extensive list of nutritional information that I've seen anywhere online. It's extensive lists not only include fresh and raw and unprocessed foods, but store bought and restaurant offerings.

If you are trying to keep track of such info on a daily, cumulative, basis, another great, free, simple to use, site for tracking calories and nutrients consumed daily is FitDay.com There are lots of sites that imitate it, but none I've found with such a streamlined or customizable design. And they don't send spam ever.

Thank you, again. I hope these links prove interesting and helpful.


Report post

I found the article interesting and have seen others saying the same. But, what about exercise? A lof of inflammation and even an occasional sweet roll can be handled if a person is exercising. Food habits are among the hardest to change because usually they are learned as children. The worst stuff is usually a kind of comfort food that soothes the soul (and clogs the arteries).

Most OTC (over the counter) anti-inflammatories interefere with blood thinners and can cause GI bleeding. Also I had a friend who used ibupropen for years for bad knees (he played basketball) and lost his kidneys because of it. Also Tylenol can cause liver problems if overused. So what we need to do is use food or natural herbal remedies as anti-inflammatories such as Turmeric, the Indian spice. But, first and last --change our diets and exercise.

Why didn't he even mention exercise?

Report post

Yes, re doing it via diet changes and exercise. There is new research that when people with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions of the joints exercise regularly, their pain and stiffness lessens - and that is my experience. In 1992, I was taking a yoga class and developed a painless clicking sound in my left hip when I walked. Worried that I might have injured something from the yoga, I went to a sports medicine clinic for a consult, and the MD did x-rays of both hips. When he discussed the results with me, he said, "Wow, you must have a lot of pain!" I said, "No - just this clicking sound that I'm worried about." He said, "The clicking sound is nothing - forget about it! But you have advanced osteo-arthritic changes in your hip joints. You must be in terrible pain at least part of the time - and you will need hip replacement surgery within 10 years, based on how things look." I said, "I've no pain, and I will not be having my hip joints replaced!" He asked, "Well you must be taking lots of pain relievers then." I said, "I don't take any." He then said, "Well what DO you do?" And I explained my healthy vegetarian diet, my 2 times a day meditation practice for reducing stress and producing deep rest in the body, and that I walked 3 or more miles a day several days a week, worked out with weights 2-3 times a week, and did yoga stretches daily. He said, "Well keep doing what you are doing, because it's working!"

Fast forward 20 years later: I do now have some recurring (but not constant) discomfort in my left hip, but rarely take anything for it (am allergic to aspirin so aren't any options but tylenol anyway), and I try to walk 30 minutes a day, at least 4 days a week. My yoga stretches have had to be modified lately due to more stiffness in the past couple years, and due to a shoulder injury, but the main thing is, by keeping moving, I do feel and function better. And he was wrong about the hip replacement prediction. :-)

Report post

Thank you Ginger45 and Heartsease. Those are great tools. I knew I would learn something from this site. :)

Report post

I too ate a lot of sugar as a child and adult. Some fatty foods as well but not as much. I have been 20 pounds overweight for about 8 years. I rarely excercized. To reduce inflamation do you need to cut out all sugar? I have definately cut back but not totally cut it out.

Report post

I think some of these plastic/metal devices that doctors are putting inside people are causing more problems. Your body knows it is a foreign object, so your immune system attacks it. What is there solution? Give you something (like chemo) to depress your immune system, thus, setting you up for inflammation/bacterial growth. Then, nothing is done to help your immune system. It is more pharmaceutical pills to treat SYMPTOMS, not the cause.

Just like giving someone antipsychotics or antidepressants, which are known to cause high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and, on top of that, mess up your central nervous system. They act like your brain isn't connected to the rest of your body, and that something that treats your brain isn't going to effect other parts of your body. That is my main gripe with doctors--it has become so specialized that each treats only one part of you, ignoring any damage that might be inflicted on the rest of your body with treatments.

There needs to be a better way.

Report post

In this very useful and valuable discussion, someone, Sherry I think, said that this is not rocket science. She's right. We, in this country, probably all know more about rocket science than how to provide health for ourselves. Most of us shop in stores that offer 95% body poison. Even though most of us could grow most of what we should eat, we spend that time in the grocery store or at some kill me now restaurant. And I am not excluded. I have eaten way more than my share of doughnuts and other shapes of poisons. I have great genes which may be why I have been able to abuse myself so exuberantly for so many years----------------------until NOW. So at 63 with the blood chemistry of a 25 year old but a SCAD and HA under my belt I am making the change. It is in some defiance, which is contributing to the energy, to eat that which will not promote my illness and may reverse it.
There are many books which are useful in making food choices that combine for health. I like The Complete Idiot's Guide to plant Based nutrition and Forks Over Knives and there are many websites as well. I quit meat some years ago but made up for it with sugar.
We are all talking about how to give up sugar and should you give up all sugar. For me, any sugar that is not inherent in how the food originates, eg, fruit, vegetables, wheat, rice etc is the sugar I am not eating. I think we all know what I am talking about here. And for me eating any is trouble. When someone says " oh, just have a bite, one bite won't hurt you". One bite and a whole pie is the same for me. The body begins a process when it gets the sugar, not just the mouth.
There is plenty of evidence that starting to exercise at ANY age is hugely beneficial. I have exercised vigorously for 35 years at whatever weight I was. I started back on my regime about 2 weeks after the HA. I have taken it slow and reduced the weight that I lift and my speed on my eliptical machine.
What I am saying here is that I am doing everything I can to do what I know is best for me. That's where what the docs say is so incomplete. We would rather take the pills and in some cases that is a good choice, but for how long. Many docs will tell us to be on a statin for the rest of our lives.
I'm just not buyin it.
So, yes, I believe that all of us that are talking about our questions and fears and doubts and pain and have experienced a negative health event, should change our lifestyles. Initially it's pretty difficult especially for those people who have children and major time obligations. But changing our diets etc is the best thing we could ever do for our children. Look at them. They are being poisoned and poisoning themselves. I don't want to get all dramatic here but I know that a big percentage of what I ate between age 3 and Dec 25th 2011 was sucking the life from me. So what I am doing now is a huge change and I am losing all my excess weight as well so it takes time and yes, some will power, to be it, not just do it. That heart attack was as good a motivation as I am going to get and I am listening. But I'll be really pissed if I make all these healthy changes and lose all the weight and then die :) Laurie

Report post

Yes Ms TigerWiger. I am so glad that I was not given a stent. If I had been asked or had a clue what was happening around the angio or SCAD(never heard of such a thing) I would have declined the stent. I am led to believe that the surgical procedure is life saving for some and I don't know anything with which to refute that. But I am willing to bet that putting in a stent is standard procedure and that each patient is not independently evaluated. There are so many women on this site who feel dreadful and can connect this to allergy to the stent drugs and metal ingredients. There is no way to distinguish between the disease and the drug reactions. I feel very fortunate that I pursued whether I needed drugs or not. And after being very active in the conversation with my doc, his answer was NOT. He seemed a little embarrassed at having to say that I was prescribed drugs that did not relate to my specific event.
He has been very clear about me losing weight and continuing my exercise. And about NO sugar and plant-based with some fish if I want it. He led me to the literature on plant based diet. He is encouraging about my progress and certainly acknowledges the work that it takes to make a major long term life change. Laurie

Report post


I let the "fear talk" scare me into getting a stent. I was in doctor's office and started having chest pain. Next thing I knew, I was in ER, then in cath lab getting a stent.

If I had researched it, I would have opted out of the stent, and just had the balloon surgery done. A report came out recently that said after investigators found many patients were being stented unnecessarily, when they could have been treated with just medication.
I'm sure there is motivation for the doctor to perform these as he probably makes $30,000 or more, for at most, a 20 minute procedure. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/02/27/stents-no-bet ter-than-medicine-for-stable-heart-disease-study-says

I have asked to have it taken out, and been told that I could have a heart attack. Well, what the h*ll do they think is going to happen when I can't even exercise because of the pain, racing heart and palpitations? Or, just having palpitations, and pounding heart from rolling over in bed, or walking fast across a room? Eventually, the old ticker is going to give out. But, in the meantime, they can be making the bucks off of me, and all the while avoiding liability, while I slowly die.

I really don't care that all of these medical people are saying it is the best way. They are not inside my body and can't know what is going on. Plus, like you, I have read online so many stories of people complaining about the stents and the medication that comes out of it.

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support WomenHeart

Help WomenHeart reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to  WomenHeart

Discussion topics

Heart health links and resources

The SCAD Ladies Stand Up -- Read the special report

Community leaders


The information provided by this online support network through WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and Inspire is for general informational purposes only. The information is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. If you are ill, or suspect that you are ill, see a doctor immediately. In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease never recommends or endorses any specific physicians, products or treatments for any condition.