A September 2019 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, (1) begins this way:
“It has been proposed that a chronic state of inflammation correlated with aging known as inflammaging, is implicated in multiple disease states commonly observed in the elderly population. Inflammaging is associated with over-abundance of reactive oxygen species in the cell, which can lead to oxidation and damage of cellular components, increased inflammation, and activation of cell death pathways.”
- Managing and controlling chronic inflammation is a key strategy to our wellness programs.
- We examine the role of inflammation as a catalyst in depression and cardiovascular disease in aging patients.
Aging and elderly patients can suffer from depression. Look at this revealing study in the medical journal Quality of Life Research (2) – it comes from Columbia University. Here the research team wanted to see what conditions caused the greatest loss in quality of life in patients 65 years and older. The average remaining years of these patients was to age 77 years.
They looked at nine leading conditions: depression, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, asthma, arthritis, and cancer to see what robbed aging patients of the most “quality of life” years.
By far – the biggest thief was depression taking nearly 2/3rds of an aging persons quality of life years away from them after age 65. The researchers rightfully concluded that this needs to get fixed.
A worse quality of life was measured in people with depression and congestive heart failure.
Two years later, in August 2018, the same researchers lead another study published in the journal Medical Care: (3) This time they wanted to measure the burden of 15 chronic diseases on quality of life in people over 65 years old and what were the effects if the person suffered from more than one of these health challenges. The worse quality of life was measured in people with depression and congestive heart failure.
A link exists between depression and cardiovascular disease.
The link between cardiovascular disease and depression is much more complicated than treating depression and treating heart disease. Clinicians must look at the body holistically and investigate common and root causes to both issues. This is the suggestion of a March 2019 study from the Hannover Medical School in Germany (4). Of course at the Magaziner Center for Wellness we have made this connection in the more than 30 years of providing holistic medicine services.
Here is what the researchers suggested:
- Major depression is the most common mental disorder and a leading cause of years lived with disability. In addition to the burden attributed to depressive symptoms and reduced daily life functioning, people with major depression are at increased risk of premature mortality, particularly due to cardiovascular diseases.
- Several studies point to a bi-directional relation between major depression and cardiovascular diseases, thereby indicating that both diseases may share common physiological pathways.
- These include lifestyle factors (e.g. physical activity, smoking behavior), dysfunctions of endocrine systems (e.g. hypothalamus-pituitary adrenal axis), and a dysbalance of pro- and anti-inflammatory factors.
Inflammation + Aging = Inflammaging
This is a study that comes from the National Institutes of Health, September 2018, published in the journal Nature reviews. Cardiology. (5)
- Most older individuals develop inflammaging, a condition characterized by elevated levels of blood inflammatory markers that carries high susceptibility to chronic morbidity, disability, frailty, and premature death.
- Potential mechanisms of inflammaging include increased susceptibility to disease, central obesity, increased gut permeability, changes to microbiota composition, cellular senescence (you cells stop dividing (you have trouble healing ad fighting disease), oxidative stress caused by dysfunctional mitochondria (energy levels drop and oxidative damage occurs), immune cell dysregulation, and chronic infections.
- Inflammaging is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and clinical trials suggest that this association is causal. (Aging can cause inflammation, inflammation can cause ageing, inflammation can cause cardiovascular disease, etc.)
- Inflammaging is also a risk factor for chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer, depression, dementia, and sarcopenia (muscle loss).
Researchers concluded inflammaging is associated with the decline of vascular function, which is a critical risk factor for the onset of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, oxidative stress as a result of the decline of cellular proliferation, senescence, and loss of adaptive immune function, immnunosenescence, is characteristic of age-onset diseases such as cardiovascular disease.”
The researchers also suggest that among other treatments, doctors should explore the nutritional component. They suggest more research into these factors:
- Metabolites, phytochemicals and micronutrients can diminish the risks of age-related diseases and inflammaging.
- Endothelial progenitor cells (the cells of the blood vessel lining) play a critical role in neo-angiogenesis and vascular aging. It was found that Mediterranean diet nutraceuticals regulate the population and the physiological condition of endothelial progenitor cells, thus mitigating the process of inflammaging in the cardiovascular system.
- The consumption of diets including whole grains cereals, vegetables, fish and fruits have been shown to have protective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Sulforaphane, present in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli sprouts, possesses anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties.
To treat cardiovascular disease and depression, one should treat inflammation.
A New Path of Treatment
The researchers in this study recognized the co-factors that circle around, through and between cardiovascular disease and depression need to be treated as a whole. To treat depression and cardiovascular disease you need to treat the whole body.
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness we explore the role of inflammation as it connects to many diseases and health issues. We look for links to how depression and cardiovascular disease are linked by inflammation and how treating these problems means treating the whole body and a vast array of possible co-conditions.
If you would like more information, please contact our office so we can start a conversation with you.
1 Zuo L, Prather ER, Stetskiv M, Garrison DE, Meade JR, Peace TI, Zhou T. Inflammaging and Oxidative Stress in Human Diseases: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Treatments. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 10;20(18):4472. doi: 10.3390/ijms20184472. PMID: 31510091; PMCID: PMC6769561.
2 Jia H, Lubetkin EI. Impact of nine chronic conditions for US adults aged 65 years and older: an application of a hybrid estimator of quality-adjusted life years throughout remainder of lifetime. Qual Life Res. 2016 Jan 18. [Epub ahead of print]
3 Jia H, Lubetkin EI, Barile JP, Horner-Johnson W, DeMichele K, Stark DS, Zack MM, Thompson WW. Quality-adjusted Life Years (QALY) for 15 Chronic Conditions and Combinations of Conditions Among US Adults Aged 65 and Older. Medical care. 2018 Aug 1;56(8):740-6.
4 Kahl KG, Stapel B, Frieling H. Link between depression and cardiovascular diseases due to epigenomics and proteomics: Focus on energy metabolism. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 6.
5 Ferrucci L, Fabbri E. Inflammageing: Chronic inflammation in ageing, cardiovascular disease, and frailty. Nature Reviews Cardiology. 2018 Jul 31:1.