DID you know that any chronic (long standing) bacterial infection, including dental problem like gum disease (gingivitis), can indirectly cause heart disease, like coronary heart disease that could lead to heart attack, or blockage in the neck (carotid) arteries and potential stroke?

The underlying precipitating pathology in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the artery) is inflammation.

And bacterial infection (like infection of the skin or other organs in our body) is now being suspected by scientists as a possible “initiator” of hardening of the arteries that cause arterial blockages in the heart (leading to heart attack), in the brain (causing stroke), in leg arteries, especially among diabetics (resulting in leg gangrene).

An important part of the healthy lifestyle we have been vigorously campaigning for in our column for decades for disease prevention are regular medical and dental check-ups for overall health maintenance.


Hypertension (high blood pressure) also causes some injury to the intima (inner lining) of the arteries all over the body, including those to the brain and to the pumping chambers (muscles) of the heart.

Those with hypertension are at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and controlling hypertension with a healthy diet, daily exercise, and medications, reduces the risk and mortality from these two top killers.

Therefore, managing hypertension is vital in preventing stroke and heart attack.

Diabetes Mellitus

Typo 2 diabetes is very common harbinger of a variety of complications and pathologies in the body of the diabetic.

They range from lowered resistance to infection (they heal poorly) to visual impairment and kidney disease, from elevated risk for heart attack and stroke to foot gangrene.

Persons with diabetes have 2 to 4 times greater risk to develop heart disease than non-diabetics.

Thanks to medications for diabetes (pills and insulin shots), diabetics around the world today have a better chance of living a life as normal as possible.

Before these treatments were discovered, the morbidity and mortality among diabetics were of pandemic proportion.

Only those who were truly disciplined with their diet and daily exercise lived with less morbidity and complications.

A significant number of people, including children of diabetic parents, have prevented the onset of diabetes by dieting, watching their weight, and exercising daily.


The thyroid gland produces vital hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are primarily the regulators of body metabolism, including that of the cardiovascular system.

In hypothyroidism, the cardiac muscle contraction and relaxation both become weakened, impaired.

To maintain the integrity of the heart and other organs in the body, normal levels of the thyroid hormones are necessary.

Hemocysteine, Folic Acid, B12, and E

Elevated hemocysteine was implicated a few years back in the causation of arteriosclerotic heart disease and the use of Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 was tried.

However, the results of the subsequent studies showed that, while the hemocysteine levels were effectively reduced by Folic Acid and B12, the risk and mortality for heart attack among those patients were not reduced.

Hence, these two supplements are today no longer recommended, just like Vitamin E, which was very popular decades before for cardiovascular health, had been proven to be “of no benefit and was probably even harmful.”

Migraines and heart attack

Studies on almost 12,000 subjects published recently in Neurology revealed that “4.1 percent of people who had migraines had a heart attack compared with 1.9 percent” of those without.

Those who experienced migraine with aura had nearly 3 times higher risk for heart attack.

The more popular connections

Some of the more notorious contributing factors to heart disease are cigarette smoking, high intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, lack of physical exercises, obesity, alcohol abuse, inadequate stress management, besides hereditary predisposition.

However, as far as the last one is concerned, a healthy lifestyle has been proven to outweigh and outsmart the genes in the general population.

Children of parents who have hypertension or heart attack or stroke are not necessarily doomed or “fated” to have these illnesses, provided they live a healthy lifestyle unlike their parents.

Happiness and attitude

Whether you see only the hole in a donut, or the ring of bread around that empty hole, might determine your risk for heart disease.

Bad attitude, pessimism, unhappiness, discontent and other negative feelings also increase the risk for the development of heart disease.

People who have positive attitude in their daily routines, or especially in the face of adversities or calamities, are less prone to heart attacks in general.

These are usually people with natural happy countenance, hopefulness, who believe that the future will be brighter.

Happy people sleep and rest better, are more content and have inner peace, and healthier overall.

When flooded with the happy hormones, the mind and the muscles are more relaxed and the heart pumps easier, because the stress hormone (adrenaline) is lesser and outweighed by the happy hormones naturally secreted the endocrine glands of our body when we face the world with a positive attitude each day.

An added bonus: most of these people also enjoy sex better.

Individuals with a good attitude are 22 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared to the difficult and grouchy individuals who always look at a glass as half empty, instead of half full.

Negative persons are usually depressed, angry, anxious, malcontent and hostile and, as such, have greater risk to develop not only heart disease but stroke and other illnesses, including cancer.

Indeed, it pays to live a healthy lifestyle and have a positive outlook in life.


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