The Role of Infection in Atherosclerosis
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
I’ve posted two articles below that focus on infectious organisms detectable in the blood stream and their role in the onset and progression of coronary artery disease / atherosclerosis. The consequence of uncontrolled coronary artery disease is myocardial infarction or heart attack, one of the top killers in the US. Though there is still debate about the extent these infectious microbes contribute to atherosclerosis, the evidence suggests that the greater number of different organisms detectable the greater severity of progression towards arterial disease. There have also been studies confirming improved vascular function after use of anti-microbial agents like anti-biotics.
For years the primary focus of treatment of coronary artery disease treatment and research has focused on reducing LDL cholesterol with statin drugs. Now we are seeing evidence mounting that the cholesterol may just be merely kindling and that environmental factors such as infectious agents may be the match to light the fire. Genetics likely dictate how far, fast and furiously the fire burns. Statin drugs are the most prescribed and studied means of treating these risks. The research, funded by big Pharma, has been myopically focused on statins ability to lower LDL cholesterol, and they do apparently reduce risk. Some would argue the risk reduction is marginal and is not worth the common adverse effects of statins that have made them unpopular with many patients. What is left out of the discussion and research is the fact that statins are potent anti-inflammatories and their protection may be conferred by putting out the match. The role of infectious organisms is still not definitive as there is not nearly enough research done on therapies, other than LDL reduction by statins, to actually bring other causation to light.