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Is Inflammation the Root of Chronic Conditions?

Posted on 30 June 2019

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A clinical trial that sought to understand the role of physical activity in reducing cardiovascular risk has demonstrated the key role of chronic inflammation in perpetrating not only cardiovascular disease but also many other diseases of aging, including cancer, gout and arthritis.

Blood was taken from over 27 thousand women and 11 years later was analysed to determine whether they could identify biomarkers correlated with long-term cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

We were actually surprised that reduced inflammation was the biggest explainer, the biggest contributor to the benefit of activity, because we hadn’t hypothesized that. We knew that regular exercise does reduce inflammation over the long term, but we also knew that acute exercise transiently increases inflammatory biomarkers during and immediately after exertion

Samir Mora, lead researcher

The beneficial effect of exercise on inflammation was greater than they had predicted, raising another question: does inflammation also play a important role in other lifestyle illnesses that have links with cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes and dementia?

In answer to this question a 2017 trial involving 10,000 patients in 39 countries found that an anti-inflammatory drug, canakinumab, significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and gout. Lung cancer mortality fell by an astonishing 77 percent. So yes, the mounting evidence suggests that inflammation has a much bigger part to play in many of the non-communicable disease than most of us once thought.


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