A recent study published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests that “high cumulative inflammatory burden, as reflected by cumulative averages (ca) of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), predicts greater arterial stiffness independent of traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in psoriatic arthritis (PsA).”
What the heck does that mean?
Previous studies have shown that patients with PsA and traditional cardiovascular risk factors (CRF) have an increased risk of suffering cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In other words, the combination of inflammation due to active PsA and traditional CRF resulted in a synergistic effect; a risk greater than one would derive from the CRF alone. This 72-patient study suggested that an increased susceptibility to CVD in PsA patients “may be partly mediated by increased arterial stiffness through persistent chronic inflammation.” Arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of CVD events.
Interestingly the researchers found that arterial stiffness is increased in PsA patients, regardless of their CRF. Specifically, just suffering the persistent chronic inflammation associated with PsA also negatively affects the cardiovascular system by increasing arterial stiffness. These are some of the same pathological changes associated with the cardiovascular risks that result from hypertension.
The study examined the participants prospectively over roughly 6 ½ years. There was also a control group with no disease which was also followed.
This study highlights the association between the cumulative effects of chronic inflammation and the risk for disabilities and diseases we are so familiar with; cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, etc. In my latest book, The Fallacy of the Calorie: Why The Modern Western Diet is Killing Us and How to Stop It, I discuss a corresponding association between diet and inflammation.
Disability and Disease, as well as Health and Wellness, are the result of the interaction between our genetics and our environment. There is no more intimate or intense expression of that interaction that what we choose to consume.
Kuznar, W. (2015, March 30). Chronic Inflammation May Stiffen Arteries in PsA. Retrieved from Med Page Today: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Rheumatology/Arthritis/50712
Shen, J., Shang, Q., Li, E. K., Leung, Y.-Y., Kun, E. W., Kwok, L.-W., . . . Tam, L.-S. (2015; ). Cumulative inflammatory burden is independently associated with increased arterial stiffness in patients with psoriatic arthritis: A prospective study. Arthritis Res Ther , DOI: 10.1186/s13075-015-0570-0.