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Curbing Inflammation May Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 21, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Zina Kroner, DO

It has been established in prior studies that if one has an inflammatory condition such as psoriasis, for example, the risk of heart disease increases substantially.  A pro-inflammatory agent called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) tends to be elevated in patients with many  inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Prior studies have shown us that when patients took medication that act again TNF, the risk of heart disease decreased (J Am Acad Dermatol 2005; 52:262).

A recent study in Norway looked at patients with 3 different inflammatory conditions: rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.  Patients were treated with TNF antagonists and aortic stiffness was assessed as a marker of heart disease.  It was found that those receiving anti-TNF agents as compared to placebo had statistically significant decreases in aortic stiffness and C-reactive protein levels (a marker for heart diseaes).  Although the study was of small sample size and of short duration, it can be concluded that TNF-antagonists may potentially decrease heart disease risk. 

Medications that are TNF antagonists have a wide and potentially detrimental side effect profile and need to be prescribed judiciously. There are an array of natural treatments that can be catered to one's condition that can potentially lower TNF and cardio-CRP levels as well. 

This is an important study in that it substantiates the fact that decreasing inflammation in our bodies will help reduce cardiovascular risk.  This can be done via a number of fronts depending on one's unique inflammatory condition. 


Source: Angel K et al. Tumor necrosis factor-{alpha} antagonists improve aortic stiffness in patient with inflammatory arthropathies: A controlled study. Hypertension 2010 Feb; 55:333.

Tags:  heart disease  inflammation 

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Low Testosterone Linked to Heart Disease

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 25, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

3227286803_3cbf819f60_m Low levels of testosterone have been associated with increased body weight, insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes and a risk factor for heart disease), and poor cholesterol levels.  These metabolic factors ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease.   

A noteworthy overview of androgen deprivation therapy and its tight link to cardiovascular disease has been published in the journal Circulation.  In it, a group that included members of prominent heart, cancer and urological societies, issued a well-researched position stating that prostate cancer patients who are on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) are at an elevated risk for getting heart disease.  

Evidence shows that when one’s androgen levels are lowered, a metabolic syndrome ensues.  This does not necessarily mean that patients should not be on ADT, but does pave the way to new screening strategies for metabolic syndrome for those on ADT.   

Most importantly, this brings to light, again, the negative effect that low testosterone has on insulin sensitivity and the heart.  Metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease can potentially be prevented via the optimization of testosterone levels.  

For males, it is important to understand what your “total” and “free” testosterone levels are, and to perform a thorough workup that focuses of deciphering the cause of why the levels are low (or high) in the first place.  Then, a treatment strategy should ensue.  This should focus on addressing the cause, first and foremost.  Thereafter, treating the cause is key.  

There are many options for patients with low testosterone.  Lifestyle changes should ensue as they are often significant contributors to low testosterone levels.  Supplements and/or medication that can boost testosterone levels can also be judiciously utilized.  There are also supplements and medications that can work on preventing the aromatization of testosterone (conversion of testosterone into estrogen in fatty tissue).  Those patients on intentional ADT in the setting of prostate cancer cannot be on androgen replacement therapy.   

- Zina Kroner, DO
 

Tags:  heart disease  testosterone 

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