Laura Landro writing in the Wall Street Journal reported that the final common pathway for many deadly diseases is chronic inflammation. Growing evidence suggests that immune regulation can be altered by obesity, cigarette smoking, and fatty diets.
The end result could be heart disease, stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and diabetes. In particular, rheumatoid arthritis has been shown to be associated with a marked increase in cardiovascular events presumably related to chronic inflammation.
One striking discovery is that fat cells, particularly those in the abdominal region “act like small factories to churn out molecules known as cytokines, which set inflammation in motion,” says Peter Libby, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School. “We’ve learned that abdominal fat tissue is a hotbed of inflammation that pours out all kinds of inflammatory molecules,” Dr. Libby says.
Blood testing using the C-reactive protein often uncovers the presence of inflammation.
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