When talking about the heart and cholesterol, chronic inflammation has been recognized as a major link to cardiovascular diseases. Naturally in the arteries of the heart cholesterol (specifically LDL cholesterol) gets deposited in the lining of blood vessels to repair any damage. For the cholesterol to know that it needs to be deposited in an area of damage, the body must produce any inflammatory response. Damage to the arteries come with the natural wear and tear of life, but having high blood pressure, diabetes or any other chronic disease can increase the wear and tear causing more damage. The more damaged areas in the blood vessel and or in the body in general the more inflammation your body needs to produce. Therefore, people with chronic inflammation from any type of chronic condition may be at greater risks for heart disease.
Think about when you get a splinter in your finger, what happens? Your body initiates an attack on that foreign body (the splinter) with our white blood cells and other chemicals that results in redness and swelling to kill or get rid of the intruder from the body. This response to an intruder in the body is called an inflammatory response or simply inflammation.
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation arises after an injury to the skin, an infection, a sprain or strain, it is short-term and the effects diminish after a few days. Chronic inflammation is long-term and occurs in prolonged conditions, such as osteoarthritis, and autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma. Life style or environmental factors, such as excess weight, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, pollution, poor oral health and excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is very important in aiding your body in its attempt to heal itself after an injury, but chronic inflammation is not necessary and overall harmful to the body. Whether it be acute or chronic inflammation, it acts as an indicator of a problem that needs to be fixed in the body.
This has lead researchers to believe that it is not necessarily just the amount of cholesterol you have in your body (the number of your LDL or total cholesterol), but a combination of amount of inflammation and cholesterol. If you are truly concerned with the health of your heart please follow up with your healthcare provider and come up with a plan that works for you to figure out how at risk you are and or how to mitigate that risk.