Recent Blog Articles

Inflammation Archive


Chronic inflammation and your joints

The immune system sometimes launches a chronic inflammatory response in certain joints. That leads to pain, stiffness, and joint damage known as inflammatory arthritis. It’s usually unknown what triggers the conditions. Types of inflammatory arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and psoriatic arthritis. Treatments include medications, such as biologic or nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and lifestyle habits, such as exercising, avoiding processed foods, reducing stress, not smoking, and getting enough sleep. Wearing a splint or brace on affected joints and seeking physical therapy may also help ease pain.

Autoimmune conditions and heart disease

People with systemic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis are more likely to have heart attacks and to die of cardiovascular disease than people in the general public. The 2019 expert guidelines for preventing heart disease says these conditions should be considered "risk enhancers" when estimating heart attack risk. But this added risk may be underrecognized and undertreated.

Are you wasting money on supplements?

Taking multivitamins doesn’t prevent heart attacks or strokes, and most dietary supplements (such as fish oil, red yeast rice, and coenzyme Q10) offer no or limited benefits for avoiding heart-related problems. For people who don’t have heart disease, eating two servings of fatty fish weekly or following a healthy vegetarian diet rich in nuts, legumes, and healthy oils makes more sense than spending money on over-the-counter fish oil supplements. People with heart disease would be better off asking their doctor about the prescription drug icosapent ethyl (Vascepa), a high-dose, purified EPA that lowers cardiovascular risk when taken with a statin.

Expand your healthy cooking oil choices

The healthiest fats for cooking and using on food come from plants. Plant oils consist mostly of unsaturated fat, which in limited amounts is good for the heart. One can enjoy a wide variety of plant oils, such as avocado, canola, corn, flaxseed, grapeseed, olive, peanut, rice bran, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and walnut oils. But high heat can break down plant oil molecules and reduce health benefits. The most fragile plant oils include extra-virgin olive oil and nut oils, such as walnut oil.

5 inflammation-fighting food swaps

Inflammation can be a beneficial sign that the body's immune system is fighting an infection, but it can also linger over time, damaging the body. There is evidence that eating a diet heavy in foods that promote inflammation can increase the risk for certain health problems, and also that a healthy diet can reduce inflammation.

Go big green

Studies show that people who regularly adhere to the Mediterranean diet lower their risk of cardiovascular disease, many types of cancer, and cognitive decline with age. But it’s possible that this healthy diet can be made even healthier. New research suggests that making the diet "greener" by boosting amounts of dark green vegetables, green tea, and plant proteins high in the micronutrients known as polyphenols offers even greater benefits.

Air pollution: An invisible threat to your heart

Exposure to microscopic particles called PM2.5 in air pollution may increase a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart rhythm disorders. The tiny particles pass from the lungs into the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and other cell-damaging processes. Air pollution comes mainly from coal-fired power plants, industrial factories, and motor vehicles. To limit exposure, people should try to avoid exercising outdoors near busy roads or industrial areas.

Why you should move — even just a little — throughout the day

People who sit for long, uninterrupted periods of time may increase their risk of cardiovascular disease, even if they get the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise. Sedentary behavior appears to make people more prone to developing insulin resistance and inflammation, which are key players in the buildup of fatty plaque inside arteries. Experts say people should add short bursts of movement to their daily routine to break up long periods of sitting.

Stopping osteoarthritis: Could recent heart research provide a clue?

Currently no medication can slow the progress of osteoarthritis. And while a reanalysis of a study of people with heart disease suggests a promising approach, more definitive research will be necessary to confirm this.

Coffee: A heart-healthy brew?

Coffee drinking has been linked to a lower risk of dying of heart disease. Coffee contains potent anti-inflammatory substances called polyphenols that may improve blood sugar control and help blood vessels contract and relax. Although the caffeine in coffee may help people control their weight, it can trigger a short-term rise in blood pressure and heart rate. Filtered coffee, which removes substances that may raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, appears to be a better option than unfiltered coffee.

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