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Chronic Inflammatory Diseases and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: Innocent Bystanders or Partners in Crime?

[ Vol. 24 , Issue. 3 ]

Author(s):

Peter Riis Hansen *   Pages 281 - 290 ( 10 )

Abstract:


Inflammation plays a significant role in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases are at increased risk of CVD, but it is debated whether this association is causal or dependent on shared risk factors, other exposures, genes, and/or inflammatory pathways. The current review summarizes epidemiological, clinical, and experimental data supporting the role of shared inflammatory mechanisms between atherosclerotic CVD and rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and periodontitis, respectively, and provides insights to future prospects in this area of research. Awareness of the role of inflammation in CVD in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases and the potential for anti-inflammatory therapy, e.g., with tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors, to also reduce atherosclerotic CVD has evolved into guideline- based recommendations. These include regular CVD risk assessment, aggressive treatment of traditional CVD risk factors, and recognition of reduced CVD as an added benefit of strict inflammatory disease control. At present, chronic inflammatory diseases would appear to qualify as partners in crime and not merely innocent bystanders to CVD. However, definite incremental contributions of inflammation versus effects of the complex interplay with other CVD risk factors may never be fully elucidated and for the foreseeable future, inflammation is posed to maintain its current position as both a marker and a maker of CVD, with clinical utility both for identification of patient at risk of CVD and as target for therapy to reduce CVD.

Keywords:

Chronic inflammatory disease, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, periodontitis.

Affiliation:

Department of Cardiology, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Kildegaardsvej 18, DK-2900 Hellerup



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