Heart disease can present itself as a condition known as angina pectoris, which is characterised by chest pains that may extend down the left arm. The scientific literature once again points to an association between H pylori and angina.
This short blog post presents some research showing a possible link between H pylori and angina and why it’s really important not to see H pylori as just another tummy bug!
I recommend you click here if you haven’t yet seen the rest of my information on how H pylori is associated with cardiovascular disease – including high blood, pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and others.
Stable angina – also known as effort angina – presents as chest discomfort when performing some kind of physical activity (running, walking, etc.).
There are minimal or non-existent symptoms at rest. Symptoms typically abate several minutes after cessation of physical activity and reoccur when activity resumes.
Unstable Angina Pectoris
Unstable angina (UA) is a form of acute coronary syndrome and is defined as angina pectoris that changes or worsens.
It has at least one of these three features:
Unstable angina may occur unpredictably at rest, which may be an indicator of impending heart attack.
In stable angina the developing plaque is protected by a fibrous cap.
This cap may rupture in unstable angina, allowing blood clots to form and further decrease the diameter of the artery.
In a 2005 study, Franceschi et al stated:
“Previous studies have shown a potential role of CagA-positive H pylori strains in the destabilization of atherosclerotic plaques in patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD).”
In order to verify this hypothesis, Franceschi’s team designed a study to see whether CagA H pylori does indeed increase the risk and incidence of unstable angina pectoris.
They examined 38 patients with unstable angina, 25 patients with stable angina and 50 healthy volunteers.
The prevalence of H pylori infection and CagA-positive strains was evaluated in all subjects.
Here’s what they found:
The prevalence of H pylori infection was significantly higher in patients with stable angina and unstable angina compared to controls.
The CagA-positive strain was significantly higher in patients with stable angina and unstable angina compared to controls.
The prevalence of CagA-positive strains was higher in patients with unstable angina compared to those with stable angina, although the difference was not statistically significant.
The team concluded with the following statement:
“The anti-CagA antibody titer is significantly higher in patients with UA compared to those with SA. This finding may be consistent with antibodies of anti-CagA playing a role in the destabilization of atherosclerotic lesions.”[Franceschi et al. Virulent Strains of Helicobacter pylori in Patients with Stable and Unstable Angina Pectoris. Helicobacter. 2005. Abstract no: 08.09.]
In a Polish study, researchers investigated the association between H pylori and angina.
The aim of their study was to assess the influence of H pylori eradication therapy on the risk of hospitalization due to acute coronary syndrome (angina or heart attack).
They found that when H pylori infections were eradicated, patients were less likely to require hospital treatment for their heart-associated chest pain.
Their conclusion stated:
“The recommendation of H. pylori-eradication therapy may prolong the hospitalization-free period for patients with recurrent chest pain.” 2
In 2003, a group of Italian researchers looked at the possible links between H pylori and angina.
They found that patients with unstable angina had a significantly higher prevalence of H pylori than a control population.
This finding was independent of traditional risk factors such as smoking, obesity, cholesterol levels and diabetes. 3
Finally, A 2008 study conducted in Pakistan also found a higher prevalence of H pylori in patients with unstable angina than in control subjects.
The research team concluded that H pylori infections were associated with increased risk for unstable angina. 4
It appears that H pylori and angina are linked, although the evidence is probably not as strong as it is for some of the other cardiovascular conditions associated with H pylori.
H pylori infections – especially the CagA H pylori strains – are associated with changes in blood pressure, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, metabolic syndrome, elevated cholesterol, homocysteine and other risk factors.
It’s therefore not surprising that H pylori and angina are linked, and it won’t surprise me if more links are found in the future.
By now you probably know I wrote a book detailing how to get rid of H pylori AND many other digestive problems using natural, drug-free protocols.
It’s called The H Pylori Diet and you can grab a copy here if it’s of interest.
It appears that CagA H pylori strains pose the biggest threat when it comes to cardiovascular disease.
You’re able to test whether you have this particular strain at home using a stool test.
I’m biased, but I think this test is really, really important because docs will NOT run tests to identify different strains in general practice.
Strain identification only tends to be done in the research setting.
Do you have a story about H pylori and cardiovascular health you’d love to share?
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