Sunday, 13 January 2013

What causes heart disease?

I was listening to lipidologist, Dr Thomas Dayspring, interviewed by Jimmy Moore.  He listed common risk markers for disease and heart attacks.  He described some nasty lipoproteins bombarding the arterial wall and dumping their fat load, whilst other nice varieties pass through the blood vessel walls freely without damaging effect.

We may well have elevated levels in the blood stream indicating a risk of heart disease.  However the idea that nasty types of LDL particles are the cause of disease sounds as daft to me as the notion that saturated fat clings to blood vessel walls.

'The commonly accepted average core body temperature (taken internally) is 37.0 °C (98.6 °F).' (Wikipedia)

What saturated fat remains solid at 37 degrees celsius?  How and why does it cling to the cell walls.

The human body is a sophisticated system designed to achieve a level of homeostasis for optimal functioning.  Why would we evolve to have nice and nasty lipoproteins in the blood stream for no good reason?

I prefer Uffe Ravnskov's version:

In a 2005 interview, Ravnskov was asked for his viewpoint on what causes heart disease, and remarked
Most researchers to-day in this field agree that inflammation of the arterial wall is the start. The crucial question is, what starts the inflammation? As cholesterol has been demonized for so many years we have not been able to clear the blackboard and rethink... all studies of dead people have failed to show an association between their intake of saturated fat, or their serum cholesterol, and the degree of atherosclerosis. People who avoid all saturated fat and who have low cholesterol become just as atherosclerotic as people who gorge in animal food and whose cholesterol is high.
Another misconception is that atherosclerosis is a disease. When arteries become inflamed the body immediately starts a repair process to strengthen the vascular wall. Smooth muscle cells proliferate, fibrosis follows, and later, if necessary for further strength, cholesterol and calcium are used for reinforcement. This is in particular important in the coronary arteries because due to the steady movements of the heart and the negative pressure at their outside they have to be stronger than for instance arteries running to the intestines or inside bony channels. Inflammatory processes go on now and then already from childhood; it is a natural defence mechanism and atherosclerosis should therefore be considered as scars, remnants from a long life's combat with noxious chemicals or microorganisms....I think that the final attack is caused by microorganisms, but this is not the only answer. Any factor that weakens our immune defense may facilitate the growth of microorganisms, also at the inside of our vessels. These factors may be environmental (toxic compounds) or nutritional. There is much evidence that microorganisms may play a role. I published a review about this issue a few years ago. This paper[27] has since long been one of the most-frequently read article in that journal.[4]

One view is that consistently elevated blood glucose levels contribute to inflammation and damage to arterial walls.  Avoid inflammation through dietary changes and reduce stress through lifestyle choices.

Dr Malcolm Kendrick is another great source for information on this subject (see his Youtube videos).  His blog post on a recent Norwegian study of cholesterol levels, heart disease and overall mortality is clear.

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