New and Emerging Theories of Cardiovascular Disease: Infection and Elevated Iron

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Abstract

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in industrialized countries. Despite the tremendous gains made in decreasing the number of deaths due to cardiovascular disease, it still is health care's greatest challenge. Traditional risk factors account for only 50% of the incidence of cardiac disease. In fact, many individuals who develop heart disease have normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels. This suggests that other less well-studied risk factors may also play a role. The purpose of this report is to examine the role that recently suggested risk factors may play in the development of heart disease: coronary artery infection, specifically from Chlamydia pneumoniae, and elevated iron levels. Both initiate an inflammatory response, which might explain the elevated C-reactive protein levels frequently found in those who suffer from cardiac disease.

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