If you have celiac disease, then you are nearly twice as likely to develop CAD – coronary artery disease. This link was demonstrated in a large retrospective study presented at the American College of Cardiology 2014 Scientific Sessions last week.
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Our findings reinforce the idea that chronic inflammation, whether it’s from an infection or a disease, can have an adverse role in CAD and heart health in general.“
Celiac disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive system. It damages the lining of the small intestine. As a result, absorption of important nutrients is severely inhibited. This damage is caused by an inflammatory reaction due to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.
Celiac disease was also linked to a 1.4 times greater risk of stroke. In past studies, celiac disease has been linked to arrhythmias and possible heart failure. This new study links celiac disease with CAD. This link appeared even in the absence of traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Regarding these results, study coinvestigator, Dr. Rama Dilip Gajulapalli, of the Cleveland Clinic, stated “Primary-care physicians, gastroenterologists, and [other] healthcare practitioners need to be mindful of their celiac patients; they have to be on the watch for probable cardiac diseases.“
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Celiac Disease, CAD, and Inflammation Connection
The connection between celiac disease and CAD is likely associated with chronic inflammation. Dr. Gajulapalli explained: “People with celiac disease have some persistent low-grade inflammation in the gut that can spill immune mediators into the bloodstream, which can then accelerate the process of atherosclerosis and, in turn, CAD… Our findings reinforce the idea that chronic inflammation, whether it’s from an infection or a disease, can have an adverse role in CAD and heart health in general.“(1)
Other inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease have also been linked to increased risk of CAD. This reinforces the idea the chronic inflammation is a culprit in the development of these diseases.
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What You Can Do
The key take away from this new research is that chronic inflammation – “…whether it’s from an infection or a disease…” – adversely affects your heart health. So, controlling chronic inflammation is the key to reducing your risk of coronary artery disease.
1. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, the treatment is a gluten-free diet. This eliminates the source of inflammation.
2. There are many other dietary sources of inflammation as well. Learn to control inflammation with your diet.
3. The right type of exercise can help your correct metabolic and hormonal imbalances that affect inflammation. Regularly engaging in high intensity interval training reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and reduces inflammation as well.