One point I strive to drive home with both my patients and readers is that the human body is much more than the sum of its parts. After all, holistic health is all about connections — especially between factors that conventional medicine considers largely unrelated.
With that being said, the study I want to share with you today really caught my attention…
According to new research, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients face a dramatically higher risk of myocardial infarction (MI) — the fancy term for a heart attack. And this is especially true for younger, female IBD sufferers.
This is pretty major — because I can’t tell you how many people I treat each year for inflammatory bowel disease. But I can tell you that there are a lot of them. And they probably all need more cardiac monitoring than they’re currently receiving.
This study used data from more than 17 million adults — just over one percent of whom had IBD. (A statistic that lines up with the population at large, according to CDC estimates.)
Analysis showed that adult IBD patients were more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol imbalances than adults without irritable bowel disease. (They were also more likely to be smokers.)
This, of course, means that IBD also goes hand in hand with metabolic syndrome… which explains a great deal about why the condition might raise the risk of heart attacks.
And it raises these risks—dramatically. In fact, myocardial infarctions were nearly twice as common in IBD patients compared to controls. Even after accounting for other factors—like age, race, sex, and additional heart risks—having IBD still raised the risk of heart attack by a quarter.
As I mentioned earlier, this risk was higher in younger adults and women—which make up a significant portion of the IBD population.
The condition is usually diagnosed between 15 and 30 years of age. And women, in particular, tend to suffer flare-ups that are more frequent and aggressive. It all points to increased levels of inflammation in this population.
And, well… you know the drill. Increased inflammation will naturally put you at a higher risk of heart disease—not to mention a whole host of other issues—even if you’re young and otherwise healthy.
For IBD patients in particular, these complications appear to trace back to lower numbers of anti-inflammatory proteins—and higher numbers of pro-inflammatory proteins—within HDL particles.
HDL is the so-called “good” cholesterol. But due to these key differences, it just doesn’t work as well in IBD patients.
All of which is to say that, if you have IBD, you need to make sure your doctor is double and triple checking your heart health. And especially for cardiac symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain.
This can be a hard sell, as doctors aren’t as versed in the symptoms of heart attack among younger patients or woman as they are in older men. But clearly, the extra vigilance could be life-saving.
In the meantime, you can do your part by following my A-List Diet. Eat correctly and you will live longer—it’s simple advice. Because chronic inflammation—whether from IBD, diabetes, arthritis, or obesity—is the root of all evil. And these conditions can have a serious impact on your heart because of it.
It’s good to see the mainstream finally catching up with those of us who have been on the front lines in the fight against inflammation all along.
PS. There are many drug-free alternatives to reverse the effects of type II diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. I discuss them all in my Metabolic Repair Protocol. Click here to find out more. I’m also currently working on a Heart Protocol. It will be released at the end of the summer!