Pretty scary to think about, huh? As a bit of anatomy, the coronary blood vessels are the ones that feed nutrients to the heart itself so it can do its job. Block these suddenly and the heart muscles cannot get oxygen. This is called a heart attack. This can be caused by a rapid blockage from a piece breaking off from a clot in a larger blood vessels (emboli) or from the slow blockage that occurs with damaged blood vessels forming plaques over time. This will cause chest pain when the heart’s demand for oxygen goes up, either with stress or strenous situations.
Less commonly thought of is a rupture of these blood vessels. This would be the same as a hemorrhagic stroke ocurring in the brain. Any way you look at it, it is NOT a problem with the heart–it is a problem with the blood vessels feeding the heart. A vascular problem. It is critical that we think of heart and stroke issues as being a problem with the blood vessels.
What makes this particular article a little scary is that the authors were looking for patients that had evidence of healed ruptures of their coronary arteries. This is NOT a good thing! It is nice that the ruptures healed, but it is a sign of very sick blood vessels.
Here’s were the study gets worse. The patients that suffered these ruptures did NOT have “traditional” risk factors like elevated cholesterol. So the traditional risk factors, in this particular scenario, had little impact on vascular health. This means one of two things. First, there is nothing we can do to prevent these episodes from happening (not likely). Or, (more likely) we’ve been looking in the wrong direction to protect our blood vessels.
Protecting our blood vessels has everything to do with lowering inflammation through diet, management of pro-inflammatory situations (periodontitis, gut dysfunction, food allergies) and exercise as well as leading an anti-diabetic lifestyle. THIS is where the massive bang for your buck occurs with avoiding heart disease and stroke.