As concern about COVID-19 infection being linked to a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease begins to surface, you may be wondering how you can lower your risk factors. First, speak to your healthcare provider(s) about any testing, monitoring or procedures they recommend given your unique situation. Overall, cardiovascular research related to prevention and reversal of disease has been researched extensively. Here’s what scientists recommend currently:

Since a leading cause of cardiovascular disease is endothelial dysfunction, discuss with your healthcare provider ways to reduce cardiovascular inflammation and repair endothelial dysfunction.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally. Behavioral risk factors, such as unhealthy diet, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise are common recommendations from healthcare providers, focused on preventing CVDs. But researchers are making progress understanding at a cellular level what causes coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

Much of this research focuses on Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs). The endothelium is the thin membrane that lines the inside of the vascular system (blood vessels) and heart. Endothelial dysfunction disrupts the endothelial barrier permeability and is associated with cardiovascular disease. EPCs are circulating cells that can repair and regenerate the endothelium – and in the past decade or so, endothelial dysfunction and repair have become more understood.

As we learn more about the human immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself, researchers around the globe have also begun to discover that different systems in the body communicate bi-directionally. In other words, they talk to each other. A recent study shows that there is bidirectional communication between the cardiovascular system and the endothelial cells. Similarly, the gut-brain axis connects the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system.

It was once believed that the endothelium was just a barrier, but it is now understood to be a key piece of our overall health.

Part III: Dietary Recommendations for Endothelial Health

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