Inflammation, Infections, and StatinsPosted on Monday, November, 19th, 2012 by in Cancer | Chronic Disease | Exercise | Immune Homeostasis (Immune Balance) | Infections | Infections and Inflammatory Responses | Inflammation | Nutrition
Healthcare-associated infections (HAI), nosocomial infections, are caused by a wide variety of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. One bacterium that commonly causes illness is Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile. Hospitalized children and elderly people are at special risk of acquiring these bacteria, infections that result in severe diarrhea. Individuals infected with C. difficile are more likely to be admitted to short and long-term care facilities, have longer hospital stays, are more likely to require colon surgery, and are at higher risk of death.
Nosocomial infections are on the increase, probably due to the heightened use of antibiotics used in hospitalized patients. The antibiotics kill off beneficial bacteria that might offer protection against getting infections such as C. difficile.
Intriguingly, in a recent study, patients admitted to the hospital who were on statins, medications used to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, had a 45% lower risk of getting Clostridium difficile infections compared to individuals that were not on these sorts of medications.
Other studies suggest that statins affect immune responses by down-regulating, inhibiting inflammation. For example, statins prevent and reverse chronic and relapsing disease in an animal model similar to multiple sclerosis, reduce lung inflammation in animals that exposed to airborne particles, and have been shown to lower the risk of death of individuals suffering from 13 different types of cancers.
In atherosclerosis, primarily caused by an inflammatory response directed against the wall inside blood vessels, statin therapy reduces blood vessel inflammation and significantly reduces markers of inflammation such as hsCRP, high sensitivity C – reactive protein.
Health warnings have been issued by the FDA for statins. These risks include: memory loss and confusion, liver damage, heightened diabetes, and for certain statins, muscle weakness. I am certainly NOT advocating that people use statins to limit inflammation. Instead, I want the reader to focus on the fact that the effects of statins appear to be due, in the long run, to their ability to modulate acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inflammation.
As I try to emphasize in all my posts, the key to good health is to achieve immune homeostasis, the appropriate balance of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses
Immune homeostasis is most easily achieved through a) consistent physical activity, b) controlling fat deposits around the abdominal area, c) increasing consumption of vegetables and fruits, d) moderate exposure to sunlight (or vitamin D3 supplementation when the sun is not sufficient), e) ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids from a fish source, and f) and daily consumption of hyperimmune egg.
Feel free to contact Dr. Hellen at DrHellen@DrHellenGreenblatt.info with questions or to consult with her. A message may also be left at: 1.302-265.3870 or click on: http://drhellengreenblatt.info/contact-dr-hellen/.