You’ve probably heard about the importance of watching your cholesterol and blood pressure in connection with preventing heart disease, but inflammation is another influential factor that is worth mentioning. Like elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, inflammation may not produce symptoms. However, there is good news! Doctors can look at inflammation markers when you take a blood test.
It’s very common for those with heart disease to experience inflammation, and it could be a sign that your blood vessel walls have thickened. This tissue response, called atherogenesis, narrows the spaces your blood flows through and is directly connected to chronic inflammation.
What is Inflammation?
Under normal circumstances, inflammation is a very good thing: It’s your body’s way of sensing a disturbance in your body and working to fix it. When you get injured or become ill, the body’s immune response produces inflammation to help facilitate healing.
Problems arise when your body stays in an inflamed state even after the threat is past and the immune system mistakenly starts to attack healthy cells. When your body thinks you need to be protected, it moves chemicals from white blood cells into the blood or tissues. Blood flow is increased to a particular area, causing redness, warmth, swelling and pain.
How Inflammation Influences Heart Disease
Heart disease, or coronary artery disease, occurs when fatty deposits called plaque develop in the arteries and blood vessels, blocking the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the heart. A heart attack can happen when a blood clot obstructs a coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart, and a stroke occurs if a blood clot obstructs an artery to the brain. Inflammation can specifically contribute to blockages by promoting plaque growth, loosening plaque, or triggering blood clots.
When plaque enters the blood vessels, the body sees it as an invasive substance and will try to block the plaque from interacting with regular blood flow. While this is a good response, sometimes it causes the plaque to rupture, mixing with blood and triggering the formation of a blood clot.
If you smoke cigarettes or have high blood pressure or cholesterol, your risks for developing heart disease increase because these conditions can activate an immune response in your body. If fatty deposits have already developed, inflammation can narrow the arteries even further.
How to Manage Inflammation
- Eat a Balanced Diet: One of the best diets to fight inflammation is the Mediterranean diet. It’s comprised of foods that naturally calm the body, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, whole grains, and olive oil. Make it a point to limit inflammatory foods like white bread, fried food, red meat, and sugary foods and drinks.
- Don’t Smoke: Smoking has been known to damage blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis.
- Watch Your Weight: Excess weight that is carried around the midsection can elevate the risk of heart disease. This weight is stored as visceral fat, which is known to cause inflammation.
- Get Moving: Exercise is extremely beneficial for preventing and reducing inflammation. Make it a goal to spend at least 20 minutes a day walking, swimming, riding a bicycle, or doing light aerobics.
- Add Curcumin to Your Routine: Curcumin is an active compound found in turmeric root that has been utilized for its antioxidant and inflammation-lowering properties for thousands of years. The only problem with curcumin is that it is difficult for the body to absorb and needs to be combined with a fat source.
Luckily, Smarter Curcumin has the answer. Smarter Curcumin is specifically formulated with Black Seed Oil because it not only makes it easier for the body to absorb curcumin, it also provides support for the body’s immune system and normal inflammatory processes.*
Understanding what inflammation is and how it can affect your body is an important step in protecting yourself against heart disease. Talk to your doctor to learn more about inflammation and heart health!