Risk of heart deaths is increasing day by day. The number of infections a person has been exposed to is linked to artery thickening and risk of death from heart attack. It is long been suspected that infection plays a role in the development of heart disease. This has been possible by promoting inflammation within the coronary arteries. However, the studies that have been produced, so far, have conflicting evidence.
According to researchers at University of Cleavland have shown a direct association with the number of infections and artery thickening and heart attack death. The tested 400 patients admitted to hospital with chest pain or heart attack for eight different infective organisms. Four were viruses - two types of herpes, cytomegalovirus (a serious problem in those with compromised immunity) and Epstein-Barr virus. The four bacteria tested for were: Haemophilus influenzae , pneumoniae - which cause flu and pneumonia - plus the stomach bug Helicobacter pylori .
The more infections a person had been exposed to, the greater the extent of artery thickening in the heart, neck and legs. On follow up over the next three years or so, there was a link between the number of infections and the likelihood of heart attack death. Those who had up to three infections had a 2 percent chance of dying, those with four to five had a 8 per cent chance, and in those with six to eight infections, the chance went up to 5 per cent.
The figures were higher still in those with more advanced atherosclerosis. The study does not show that infection causes heart disease. But it shows that the infection and heart disease link is worthy of further investigation.