The Latest News: How Inflammation Kills!

By , Category : Heart Health

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Inflammation can killThere is literally a plethora of information available indicating the effects that chronic higher levels of inflammation has upon human health. Previous research published has linked the establishment of systemic inflammation to the development of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, and premature aging.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, chronic inflammation may be a direct threat to disease-free aging. Well, this makes a great deal of sense given the previous evidence which indicates that inflammation may be the underlying reason why people experience heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and a host of other diseases. These diseases experienced in younger people will definitely cause a greater degree or morbidity and a poor quality of life as you age.

This study looked at data from 3,044 adults older than 35 who had no history of chronic disease like cancer, heart attack, or stroke at the beginning of the study in 1997-1999. Samples of blood were drawn and a chemical called interleukin-6 was measured. This chemical used is a reliable indicator of the degree of inflammation occurring in your body. The researchers also tracked data from hospital admissions and clinics to track the health of the participants from 2007-2009.

After approximately 10 years of follow up, the subjects were placed into one of four groups: successful aging (no disease, optimal function), fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular disease, death from cardiovascular disease, and normal aging.

The results of this study indicated that 23.7% of the subjects were in group one, 10.6% were in group two, 4.8% were in group three, and the remaining 60.9% were in group four. The study also showed that the subjects who had elevated levels of interleukin-6 also had a 47% decreased likelihood of successful aging, contrasted to those subjects who had normal interleukin-6 levels.The subjects who also had elevated interleukin-6 values also had a greater chance of experiencing cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular disease events. These results remained significant even after factors such as gender, age, weight, smoking, physical activity, and drug use were considered.

In other words, this study indicates what has been previously reported. High levels of sustained inflammation can cause the development of disease which can lead to a lower quality of aging. “Maintaining a low [IL-6] level may facilitate successful aging by reducing the likelihood of impaired respiratory and musculoskeletal functioning and increasing the likelihood of remaining free of diabetes,” said the study’s authors. “Assessing chronic inflammation should be a standard part of geriatric practice.”

Systemic inflammation is typically caused from a gradual impairment in the degree of insulin sensitivity encouraged from poor dietary choices, sedentary lifestyle, and the accumulation of abdominal body fat. When the insulin secreted by your pancreas can no longer effectively lower blood sugar after a meal, your pancreas produces more and more insulin to compensate. This causes more insulin resistance, body fat gain, and the development of interleukin-6 from abdominal body fat and the liver. This cycle of events precipitates the development of vascular disease, diabetes, and organ failure.

This process, regardless of when it occurs, will lead to a very unsuccessful aging experience!

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Lewis, R.,“Chronic Inflammation May Preclude Healthy Aging,” MedScapewebsite, last accessed Sept. 23, 2013.
Akbaraly, et al.,“Chronic inflammation as a determinant of future aging phenotypes,”CMAJ 2013.

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Dr. K.J. McLaughlin, BPE, CSCS, MASc. DC

About the Author, Browse K.J.'s Articles

Dr. K.J.McLaughlin is a chiropractor with 27 years of clinical experience. In addition, he has degrees in physical education, nutrition and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with an interest in anti-aging medicine. He has also spent time studying health promotion and the effect that health education has upon health outcomes. Dr. McLaughlin has a diverse professional background which has involved clinical management, teaching, health promotion and health coaching and brings a unique passion to his work.