Presence of Gum Disease May Help Dentists and Physicians Identify Those at Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Disease
Posted Dec 07 2008 12:09pm
Individuals reporting a history of periodontal disease were more likely to have increased levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease, compared to those who reported no history of periodontal disease, according to an American Journal of Cardiology report available online today. Led by investigators from Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the findings suggest persons with increased levels of inflammatory markers associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease might be identified by asking about oral health history. This group might not be detected by traditional cardiovascular risk screening.
Inflammation has been associated with cardiovascular disease and has been suggested to be a potential link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. To examine whether oral health history and inflammatory markers associated with cardiovascular disease were linked, the investigators followed participants in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Intervention Trial for Heart Health (F.I.T. Heart), an ongoing national trial led by principal investigator Lori Mosca, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of preventive cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
The NHLBI Family Intervention Trial for Heart Health aims to study family members of patients hospitalized with heart disease because they may be at increased risk themselves due to shared genetic and/or lifestyle factors. Dr. Mosca and her research team recruited family members or co-habitants of patients hospitalized for such cardiac events as a heart attack or narrowed arteries that required bypass surgery or an angioplasty procedure. Previous research has shown that family members of cardiovascular disease patients may be at increased risk for the disease due to the genes and lifestyle habits they share.