Even though it is not proven if inflammation causes heart disease, this condition is very common for heart disease as well as stroke patients. It is thought to be a sign of heart disease, so it is important to know what it is as well as what it can do to your heart. Inflammation is caused by factors such as cigarette or tobacco smoking, bad cholesterol as well as high blood pressure. Atherosclerosis, which refers to a buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of the heart, is also attributed to inflammation since it causes the arteries to be narrow.
Even though some people might argue that the inhalation of the modern processed tobacco is not bad for health, it is linked to heart disease. Inhaling incredibly hot, burnt tobacco plant material has been found to acutely increase inflammation which is linked to heart problems. Quitting smoking lowers inflammation, and as a result chances of getting heart disease are reduced. Studies indicate that smoking causes the atherosclerotic plaque to be under a lot of stress, something which increases the possibility of it breaking off. When the atherosclerotic plaque breaks off, blood flow can be blocked as a result of the resulting rhombus lodging itself in the artery. This could cause an inflammation that could in turn cause a heart attack.
Bad cholesterol also causes inflammation that may in turn cause heart problems. The macrophages, which are cells that like gobbling up lipids and other substances, in the arterial wall receive the bad cholesterol that ends up forming atherosclerotic plaque. This makes the arteries more vulnerable to rupture. Regular cholesterol does not cause problems. It is only the oxidized bad cholesterol that gets taken up and then turned into plaque. The inflammatory response is the one that is responsible for the oxidation of the bad cholesterol which is known to cause heart disease.
Inflammation can also be linked to physical activity. If you always get the right type of exercise in the right quantities, chances of systematic inflammation will be lowered. Wrong kind or even too much of the right kind of exercise increases inflammation. Sedentary living as well as extreme overtraining have both been linked to inflammation and heart problems. Proper exercise can increase sheer stress on the arterial walls, something which causes the endothelium to be less permeable and produce more nitric oxide which prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol. This in turn protects against atherosclerosis and in turn heart disease. It is therefore important to think of exercise as not just training for the muscles, but also the arterial walls. Avoid exercises that cause too much shear since they can be inflammatory and in turn cause heart problems.
Inflammation that causes heart disease can also be caused by genetics. Some people have a genetic predisposition that directly alters the inflammatory response, something which increases chances of developing not only heart diseases but also other diseases. Such people usually have a genetic variant that increases the susceptibility of oxidation of bad cholesterol which is famously linked to increased rates of heart problems. Even though increased oxidation of the bad cholesterol does not necessarily mean that the individuals are more vulnerable to the oxidative damage resulting from the inflammatory response, the particles from the bad cholesterol are likely to cause heart disease simply by the virtue of them spending more time in the blood.
It is very important to go for cholesterol lowering medications to reduce arterial inflammation if you want to reduce chances of suffering from heart disease. It is also important to control other risk factors that are associated with inflammation and heart disease such as smoking, intake of foods that have bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you do not smoke and you live a healthy lifestyle, you might want to go for a checkup just to make sure that you are not at risk of heart disease due to genetic factors. If you are diagnosed and found to have a lot of bad cholesterol in your body, it is important to start taking an anti-inflammatory diet as well as fish oil supplements. You could also take anti-inflammatory herbs including turmeric and ginger. It is also important to follow your doctor's recommendations for heart health.