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Immune Dysfunction
Allergies and autoimmune diseases leave our immune system in a hyper-stimulated state. Redness, swelling, discharge, itching and pain are all typical symptoms of these conditions, and they indicate that there is a lot of inflammation in your body. It is important to work on strengthening your immune system, as chronic inflammation like this wrecks havock on your body, and generates an enormous amount of free radicals. Your body is in a constant state of stress if it is always battling with allergies or an autoimmune condition. The chemicals released into the bloodstream of people who suffer with allergies or autoimmune diseases include cytokines, prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes. These substances promote inflammation of the artery walls, and make blood clots much more likely.
If you suffer with an allergy such as eczema, hay fever, sinusitis, or an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or lupus, you may be much more susceptible to heart disease than people who don’t suffer from one of these conditions. Various studies have shown that people with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are at much greater risk of heart disease. People with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) are between 7 and 50 times more likely to have a heart attack than the general population. This increased risk is independent of traditional risk factors such as high cholesterol and smoking.

High Blood Pressure
This is a well known classic risk factor for heart disease and stroke because it places greater stress on your arteries and in time weakens them. However, we now knew that hypertension promotes inflammation in the body. Angiotensin 2 is a type of protein made in the body that raises blood pressure by causing constriction of the blood vessels, as well as sodium retention by ne kidneys. Many common blood pressure medications work by inhibiting angiotensin converting enzyme, the enzyme responsible for producing angiotensin 2. It has recently been discovered that angiotensin 2 is also capable of causing inflammation to the inner lining of our arteries (endothelium). It promotes the production of free radicals by the cells that line our arteries, and also makes these cells release sticky molecules that make it more likely for LDL cholesterol and other substances to bind to them.
We also know that if you have high blood levels of C-reactive protein, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure because CRP reduces nitric oxide production by the endothelial cells, (cells lining the artery walls). Nitric oxide dilates air blood vessels and reduces inflammation inside them.

Cigarettes and other toxins
Cigarettes contain thousands of toxic chemicals, many of which are able to cause direct damage to the lining of our arteries, through their irritant action. This makes the arteries much more likely to accumulate fatty deposits, calcium and other debris.
We also generate a great deal of toxins within our own body. A toxic colon will create a toxin filled body. If we have too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria in our intestines (a condition called dysbiosis), these bad bugs can produce an endotoxin called lipopolysaccharide; it is one of the most inflammatory substances in the body. Our body uses HDL “good” cholesterol to bind to and neutralize endotoxins (toxins generated within our body); therefore having a lot of toxins in our body will use up HDL and leave us with low levels of this protective cholesterol.
We are also exposed to a great deal of toxins in our environment, such as plastic, pollution, heavy metals and pesticides. If our liver does not detoxify these substances well enough we will be left with a very toxic bloodstream and tissues. These toxins all generate free radicals in our body, use up valuable antioxidants and promote systemic inflammation. If you feel you are suffering with toxin overload you are best off to follow the two week deep cleansing detox diet.

When we are stressed, our adrenal glands release the hormone adrenaline. This hormone promotes the production of the inflammatory chemicals interleukin-6 and interleukin-10 It also uses up vitamins B6, 12 and folic acid in our body, thus makes it more likely for homocysteine levels to rise. High homocysteine levels irritate our artery walls and promote atherosclerosis.
When we are stressed our adrenal glands also release the hormone Cortisol. When the stress passes, Cortisol levels go back down again. However, many of us live with chronic stress, and this means our Cortisol levels remain chronically elevated. Cortisol interferes with the action of insulin, and in time can make us develop Syndrome X and high blood pressure. Cortisol in excess tends to make us gain weight in the abdominal area; excess weight in this region is a major risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
When stress is present long term, it often leads to depression. It is thought that Cortisol is the link between depression and heart disease. A recent study done on over 2 800 men and women over age 55 showed that minor depression increases the risk of a heart attack by 60 percent, and major depression triples the risk of a fatal heart attack. Stress generates a lot of free radicals in our body and makes us use up vitamins and minerals at a much faster rate.

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