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Gum Disease: A Relatively New Risk Factor for Heart Disease

Posted Apr 17 2009 12:39am

            gum-disease   Previous research studies have reported a link between periodontal (gum) disease and the development of heart disease and the metabolic syndrome (which is pre-diabetes).   Gum disease is associated with inflammation which can increase the risk for heart problems and increase the development of belly fat.   A recent meta-analysis of 7 research studies with over 345,000 people was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2008).   This review found that gum disease was associated with a 24% increase in the risk for heart disease.

            Systemic inflammation can affect the blood vessels throughout the body.   When someone has a high cholesterol level along with inflammation they are at a higher risk for plaque rupture.   When plaque (plaque is the accumulation of fat/cholesterol inside the blood vessel wall) inside the blood vessel ruptures the blood comes into contact with the fat and cholesterol and a blood clot can form – the blood clot can block off the blood vessel which can lead to a heart attack.   People with high cholesterol levels should think about having their inflammation level checked.   There are simple blood tests (c-reactive protein or the PLAC test) which can be performed to detect your inflammation level.   People with gum disease may benefit from having their inflammation level checked.   Gum disease is a relatively new risk factor for heart disease.   So talk to your dentist or doctor if you have gum disease to further assess your risk for heart disease.

For more info about heart disease visit www.heart-strong.com

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