By Kennedy Shelley
When we see the annual review of the biggest causes of death and disability in the US and world, we see things such as heart disease and stroke.
But what is the root cause of these?
Research is pointing more and more to chronic inflammation.
Since Time Magazine did its cover story on inflammation in 2004, more and more evidence has come out showing how long-term inflammation of the blood system fries our body. Since our brain uses 20% of the body’s energy and blood supply it is most affected.
But what causes this inflammation?
More and more the original cause goes back to high blood sugar and insulin levels.
The blood can only use a small amount of glucose at any given moment. An average person only needs four grams in their blood at any given moment. That’s the equivalent of four paper clips.
In other words, it doesn’t take much, and most people get too much in our standard American diet.
When we have too much in our system, the pancreas starts to put out insulin to regulate it and convert it to fat.
The cycle goes on and on until eventually, the pancreas starts to get overwhelmed and burns out. The first sign of this is metabolic syndrome which is pre-diabetes. (To learn more about this, see: The Most Dangerous Disease You Have Not Heard Of)
And what is the result of inflammation, high blood sugar and metabolic syndrome?
The great killers of our time: Heart Disease, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
But why are we not looking at the root cause?
If we know that high glucose and insulin levels are signs of metabolic syndrome and this is going to cause all these other problems shouldn’t we be saying that too much sugar, glucose, and insulin are the biggest killers? After all, that was the original first cause?
This was recently driven home in an article in the journal Neurology.
Researchers found an inflammatory marker in blood work that shows people at risk for dementia.
The protein, or inflammatory marker known as sCD14 was shown to show up early before signs of dementia were diagnosed.
The test is an important breakthrough to help people get treatment and preserve brain function.
But it’s also more evidence that long term inflammation is the root cause of dementia. So, preventing inflammation is key to preventing Alzheimer’s.
“Injury to the brain that predisposes [it] to dementia, whether due to vascular brain injury, Alzheimer’s proteinopathy, or head trauma, is accompanied by a neuroinflammatory response.” Dr. Mathew Pase, lead author
While all the causes of long-term inflammation to the body have not been discovered it does seem very prudent to work to minimize long term inflammation in the body.
Every 65 seconds, someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s. It is the world’s fastest-growing cause of death, topping breast and prostate cancer.
There are no drugs that can reduce the sCD14 levels, but some statin drugs like Crestor seem to decrease inflammation. (See this article in FHN for more information).
But the link between inflammation and most major diseases seems to be getting stronger, which means if you want to live a long full life, working to reduce inflammation through diet and lifestyle seem to be the best medicine.