The development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) progresses slowly over time and is caused by environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors. Atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries due to lipid accumulation, alters the natural balancing processes that regulate lipid metabolism, the production of inflammatory molecules, and enhance reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells of the vessel wall. Atherosclerosis is not only a lipid metabolism disorder; it is also a consequence of excess bursts of ROS damaging low density lipoproteins (LDL) yielding oxidized (ox)LDL. Once LDLs are oxidized, the body does not have the biological machinery to metabolize/eliminate them. Immune cells are attracted to the area to destroy what it sees as an invader. Since the immune cells, namely macrophages, do not have the equipment to digest the oxLDL they become overwhelmed with lipid products and macrophages that dye in the process leading to a buildup of debris causing vascular damage. Thus, the imbalance in ROS and resulting oxidative stress is an important contributor of disease.
I have recently submitted to the AHA the link here so you can read more about oxidative stress and how it impacts vascular injury. Subsequently, I will post more about the importance of balance so we can start getting into lifestyle effects of these topics.
Thanks for joining me on this journey.