HomeHealthReducing inflammation reduces your heart risk, data reveals

Reducing inflammation reduces your heart risk, data reveals

Aussie researchers have taken a big step towards the development of an entirely new class of drugs to regulate blood pressure and manage age-related changes in heart function.

It’s no secret that as you get older, you become more at risk of developing issues with your cardiovascular system. It’s so common, in fact, that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is actually the leading cause of death in both Australia and the world.

It has also been established that in many CVD cases, inflammation is a main driver of the condition. It’s estimated that around 40 per cent of all elderly deaths are caused by CVD where inflammation was recorded.

Inflammation situation

Chronic, low-grade inflammation becomes much more common with age and represents a significant risk factor for mortality in older people.

But until now, most treatments have focused on treating inflammation only once it has already led to CVD developing, which takes decades, by which time a lot of damage has already been done.

Often the inflammation that leads to CVD begins in middle age.

It seems logical then, that treating inflammation earlier could potentially lead to a delay of CVD symptoms, if not prevent the condition from occurring at all.

This was the general hypothesis researchers at Monash University’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) worked with in their latest study examining the effects of earlier inflammation treatment on CVD outcomes. And the results could lead to an entirely new class of heart drugs.

PhD candidate Jaideep Singh, first author of the study, says previous attempts to treat cardiovascular diseases by suppressing inflammation have met with limited success.

“We hypothesised that rather than tackling inflammation once cardiovascular diseases have already arisen, a more productive approach is to resolve inflammation as nature’s way to prevent or reverse the progression of cardiovascular diseases,” says Mr Singh.

Enter ANXA1

Specifically, Dr Singh’s team zeroed in on a naturally occurring protein known as annexin A1, or ANXA1. This protein plays an important role in your immune system, and is involved in triggering your immune response to biologic threats.

As part of this triggering process, ANXA1 also suppresses inflammation.

“We focused on ANXA1 due to its ability to heal inflammation in nature’s way,” Mr Singh says.

“Overall, our data reveal compelling new insights for the potential development of ANXA1-nature’s way to treat cardiovascular diseases, especially in an ageing population.”

Although the research is still at the mouse stage, the results are promising. The research revealed middle-aged mice lacking ANXA1 experienced more inflammation and damage in their hearts and blood vessels.

“This indicates that untreated inflammation might play a role in causing heart and blood vessel problems as we age,” says Dr Chenghue Helena Qin, a co-author of the study.

“Consequently, it could open up new possibilities for treating high blood pressure and preventing heart issues linked to ageing.

“Our preclinical studies concluded that ANXA1 could play a critical role in controlling blood pressure, how well your heart works, and even stopping heart problems from getting worse.”

Armed with the knowledge that increasing ANXA1 levels is indeed an effective way to reduce inflammation, and in turn its effects on your heart, the researchers next aim to develop targeted drugs and therapies to achieve this goal.

Have you experienced more inflammation as you age? Has it coincided with any heart trouble? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Hidden heart disease the next cardiac epidemic

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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