Bad teeth are related to bad heart arteries

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In winters, one sees more heart disease, more blood pressure, more heart attacks and more paralysis.

It’s time to go to not only to your cardiologist but also to your dentist as in middle-aged adults, gum disease goes hand in hand with the metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors for heart disease, paralysis and diabetes — including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides (another type of blood fat). The syndrome is usually diagnosed when a person has three or more of these traits.
There is a link between periodontitis, an infection of the tissue supporting the teeth seen in up to 40 percent of adults, and system-wide problems such as low grade inflammation and a reduced ability to metabolize glucose.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, people with periodontitis are also at about 20 percent greater risk of heart disease.

Both periodontitis and the metabolic syndrome are linked to inflammation and resistance to insulin. In the study 34% percent of people with moderate periodontitis and 37% with severe periodontitis had the metabolic syndrome, compared to just 18 % of people with no gum disease or only mild periodontitis. The likelihood of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome rose with the severity of bleeding in the gums, as well as the proportion of periodontal pockets, or abnormally deep spaces between teeth and gums. The relationship was especially strong among people 40 and older.

Adults older than age 45 suffering from severe periodontitis were 2.3-times more likely to have metabolic syndrome than unaffected individuals. In the study treating severe periodontitis resulted in better blood vessel function six months later.

Fluctuating blood pressure more harmful

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Further fluctuations and spikes in blood pressure readings in the elderly hypertensive persons can affect their ability to think clearly and other cognitive functions.

As per a North Carolina State University study in people whose systolic blood pressure is 130 mm Hg or above, the cognitive functions gets impaired on days when their blood pressure spikes and fluctuates. On the other hand, in people with normal blood pressure the cognitive functions do not get impaired if their blood pressure spikes or fluctuates.

The carry home message is that if you have blood pressure that wildly fluctuates and you also have underlying high blood pressure, you might be in double trouble for poor cognitive functioning.

Several studies in the past have found a link between high blood pressure and dementia, which is marked by a loss of memory and other cognitive abilities, including the ability to speak, identify objects or think abstractly. Another study found that treating high blood pressure in the very elderly may help reduce their risk of developing dementia.