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Endothelial dysfunction

Category: Illnesses and disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

In human vascular diseases, endothelial dysfunction is a systemic pathological state of the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) and can be broadly defined as an imbalance between vasodilating and vasoconstricting substances produced by (or acting on) the endothelium.

Normal functions of endothelial cells include mediation of coagulation, platelet adhesion, immune function and control of volume and electrolyte content of the intravascular and extravascular spaces.

As we can thus see, dysfunction can as a consequence cause a whole range of diseases -  hypertension, hypotension, so called 'sticky blood' [too much coagulation] or so called 'thin blood' too little coagulation and of course atherosclerosis - hardening of the arteries.

We are apt to blithely say that high blood pressure and atherosclerosis is caused by high cholesterol, but this vastly oversimplifies the actual state of affairs. 

Cholesterol is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes.  It is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity. In addition to its importance within cells, cholesterol also serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D.  In effect, if we are in need of repair for any reason, then we should expect the cholesterol levels to be high.

High cholesterol is thus an indicator of other problems - a symptom and not a cause.  And this is key.  To block cholesterol may actually be wholly counterproductive, if a lot of cholesterol is in your bloodstream, it may be the body is being attacked and damaged by pathogens of various sorts.  

So the key to stop the dysfunction is actually to find out what is causing the endothelium dysfunction.

Causes

Endothelial dysfunction can result from

Toxins

the healthy deep fried option in Kearny USA
ice cream with hydrogenated fats, deep fried
chocolate bars and maple syrup brownies, I think
this is classified as a high carbohydrate diet [see below]

Toxins from smoking tobacco products, smoke inhalation in general and and exposure to air pollution, pesticides [on food or in the air as sprays], other inhaled or ingested chemicals.  These act as inflammatory products in the bloodstream and cause dysfunction through the attack they produce.  The latest extremely serious toxin to enter the equation are nanoparticles.
Heavy metals also have a record of causing irritation, inflammation and dysfunction.  The problems of lead and mercury are well known, but overdose of other metals can also be a problem eg:

 In patients with metabolic syndrome, body iron overload exacerbates insulin resistance, impairment of glucose metabolism, endothelium dysfunction and coronary artery responses. PMID: 22647488"

 Stress

 
Apart from the broth, I think
this is classified as a high carbohydrate diet [see below]

Endothelial dysfunction is more prevalent, for example,  in shift workers, a group known to have a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Note that stress induces the fight or flight response in us and as a consequence a high level of the stimulant neurotransmitters such as adrenaline, it is these that are one culprit, as at high and constant levels they act as inflammatory chemicals.

But stress can compromise the immune system and by compromising the immune system, more pathogens can enter the blood stream.

 Bacteria

There is growing evidence that bacteria also play a role in inducing inflammatory responses in the circulation system of the brain and the body, causing endothelial dysfunction, for example:

inflammatory regulator plays an important role in Central nervous sytem inflammation and Blood brain barrier disorders caused by microbial and non-microbial factors. These results demonstrated that cBMECs [brain endothelial cells] as well as EPCs [endothelial progenitor cells] may be used as potential cell-based biomarkers for indexing of Blood brain barrier injury. PMID: 23637989


Nutritional deprivation 

The scottish balanced diet -part of the 5 a day diet - oil, chips, mars bar,
batter with a pint of beer  [I jest]

Both deprivation of essential nutrients and overdosing on certain foodstuffs can cause endothelial dysfunction. 

Overdosing via a high carbohydrate diet, for example, with an excess of sugar, processed sugars, sweet drinks, colas, energy drinks, fruit juices, processed grains, white bread, sweets [candies], alcohol, etc all act in this context as toxins, as they cause high blood glucose levels, so called 'spikes' which irritate [inflame] the walls of the blood vessels. 

It is worth noting that calcium balance appears to be key.   "Endothelial nitric oxide synthase" is a very key part of how endothelial tone is regulated.  This endogenous enzyme generates nitric oxide in blood vessels and inhibits smooth muscle contraction and platelet aggregation. it relies for its working on calcium, so calcium balance plays a big part in whether we get endothelial dysfunction of not.  Calcium imbalance can result in severe disruption of the Endothelial NOS workings.

Parasites

Parasites travelling through the blood stream cause intense irritation and inflammation.  For example

Hemotrophic mycoplasmas (HM) are highly specialized red blood cell parasites ... [in studies it was observed that] the parasite interacted directly with endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo. Endothelial activation, widespread endothelial damage, and adherence of red blood cells to the endothelium were evident …. PMID: 23398879

 Note that this cause is greatly under researched given its prevalence and the number of parasites implicated.

Pharmaceuticals and drugs

...and this was just the starter ... I think
this is classified as a high carbohydrate diet [see above]

Many pharmaceuticals and drugs can inflame and irritate the walls of the blood vessels acting as irritants.  The list of suspect pharmaceuticals is growing as more unbiased research is completed, for example

analyses of Pulmonary artery hypertension registries shed light on a selective pulmonary vascular toxicity triggered by TKIs, [tyrosine kinase inhibitors – anticancer drugs] especially dasatinib. PMID: 24037637

Endothelial dysfunction is just another blood circulatory disease and on the eHealthme website, the Adverse Health Reports caused by pharmaceuticals and submitted by doctors tend to get grouped around problems such as 'high cholesterol' or 'embolisms'.  Nevertheless, despite the fact it is rarely mentionned in these reports - not because it is not caused by pharmaceuticals, but because other categories tend to be used instead - a number of pharmaceuticals are listed as being implicated.

The eHealthme site collects the Adverse Drug reports submitted by doctors to the FDA and SEDA in the USA.  It then summarises them for ease of use.  We originally provided a direct link to the Endothelial dysfunction page on this site and the pharmaceuticals that can cause it, but the eHealthme website developers frequently reorganise the site and thus break the links.  Thus in order to find out which pharmaceuticals are implicated in Endothelial dysfunction

  • Follow the LINK to the eHealthme website
  • Using the ‘All conditions’ index find the appropriate entry
  • Now scroll down until you get to the section marked ‘Drugs that could cause

The list shows you all the drugs implicated in CAUSING Endothelial dysfunction as well as the number of people who have made a complaint to their doctor and had their case reported by him.  Note that it is up to the doctor whether he reports or not.

As of October 2016, about 50 pharmaceuticals were in this list.  [The direct link is here, but it may no longer work]

One of the rather fascinating group of pharmaceuticals implicated are statins, which rather implies they are treated as a toxin by the body.  Other drugs in the list include immunosuppressants.

One other interesting drug in the list is Cyclophosphamide used to treat cancer and 'autoimmune' disorders; it is known that Cyclophosphamide has other severe and life-threatening adverse effects, including acute myeloid leukemia, bladder cancer, hemorrhagic cystitis, and permanent infertility.  Thus one wonders why it is still around.  It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.  Unbelievable but true.

Sedentary lifestyle

 

In effect a lack of exercise.  Any form of gentle exercise helps to keep the blood flowing through the circulatory system, pounding away in a gym is not necessary, all that is needed is a gentle walk away from pollution.  The exercise not only helps to keep the channels open but speed the removal of any toxins from the body - making sure the toxins get to the kidneys.

Physical trauma

Physical damage can cause dysfunction and  Surgery has a record of producing endothelial dysfunction.

Swelling caused by blocked lymph nodes

Clearly any physical damage could affect the entire circulatory system directly, but there is an indirect effect which is often overlooked.  Physical damage can affect the lymph system causing it to block or malfunction. 

Any problems with this system can cause endothelial dysfunction simply because the lymph system is the mechanism by which the immune system works. It is worth noting that plastic surgery has a very unhealthy record of producing heart disease in general.

The presence of lymphatic vessels has been known for centuries, but the key players regulating the lymphatic vessel growth and function have only been discovered during the recent decade. The lymphatic vasculature is essential for maintenance of normal fluid balance and for the immune response. Hypoplasia or dysfunction of the lymphatic vessels can lead to lymphedema. Currently, lymphedema is treated primarily by physiotherapy, compression garments, and occasionally by surgery, but the means to reconstitute the collecting lymphatic vessels and ...regenerate lymphatic capillaries and collecting vessels after surgical damage are limited.  PMID: 18519974

Since endothelial dysfunction can be caused by pathogens and our only defence against pathogens is our immune system, damage to the lymph system is likely to lead to disease, and one of those diseases [amongst many]  is endothelial dysfunction.

Viruses

There is some evidence now on Pubmed to support the theory that dysfunction can be caused by an active infection in the arterial wall, often caused by herpes related cytomegalic virus or chlamydia pneumonia.  Other viruses are also implicated and this research is ongoing.

From emerging viruses to cardiovascular disease: preventive measures matter.  Clough JD.  Cleve Clin J Med. 2003 May;70(5):383.  PMID: 12779127

There is one recent very important virus that has been implicated and that is the flu virus:

endothelial activation, loss of barrier function, and consequent microvascular leak may also serve important mechanistic roles in the pathogenesis of severe influenza. The aim of this review is to summarize the current evidence in support of endothelial activation and dysfunction as a central feature preceding the development of severe influenza. We also discuss the effect of influenza on platelet-endothelial interactions. PMID: 23863601

which leads us rather neatly on to the next category.

Vaccines

The name for a vaccine that has a live virus in it is an attenuated vaccine.   Although most attenuated vaccines are viral, some are bacterial in nature.  As we can see from the description above, endothelial dysfunction can be caused by viruses and bacteria.

Not our normal balanced factual description
but a little emotion does not go amiss sometimes
 the Mandatory Vaccine Act 2015:

There appears to be a belief by those promoting vaccines that the immune system defeats the virus as it builds up an immunological record.  But there is now enough research to show that this is not the case.  A virulent strain of attenuated virus may replicate very fast before the immune system has had time to muster its defences - particularly if the virus is injected or administered by nasal spray. A virus is capable of then secreting itself in adipose tissue and the joints and 'laying low'.  Adipose tissue apears to provide a safe haven for a number of viruses.

When the immune system is compromised, for example by stress or extreme emotion, the virus then emerges and attacks.  Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by emerging pathogens and so can endothelial dysfunction.

In other words, those who have the 'flu vaccination [which as of 2014 used a live virus] may be opening themselves up to endothelial dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis.

Radiation

All radiation whether 'cosmic' or electromagnetic impacts our bodies and depending on its frequency, it resonates different parts of us.  The reason that nuclear radiation is so dangerous is that it impacts cells, but what we appear to have overlooked is that all radiation impacts some part of us. 

Every aggregate in our bodies - organs, cells, the body itself, has natural ‘resonance’.  Resonance is a substance’s natural tendency to oscillate – vibrate – at maximum amplitude at certain frequencies, known as the thing’s resonant frequency. 

And some radiation affects the endothelium.  High intensity radiation affects the circulatory system in the short term, but even low exposure radiation of the 'right' frequency can have an effect in the long term.  This is one example of what can hapen

.... radiation injury besides DNA damage is inflammation and increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes and cytokines. Endothelial damage and dysfunction of capillaries and small blood vessels plays a particularly important role in radiation injury. This review is focused on summarizing the currently available data concerning the mechanisms of radiation injury, as well as the effectiveness of various antioxidants, anti-inflammatory cytokines, and cytoprotective substances that may be utilized in preventing, mitigating, or treating the toxic effects of ionizing radiation.  PMID: 26030720

Treatments

Attack the symptoms

The medical community propose a host of drugs to combat this problem, based on attacking the symptoms, including

Treat the cause

In contrast the 'alternative medicine' fraternity base the treatments on a multi-faceted approach.  In the first place the emphasis is on finding the cause from those above.  Then the principle of Healing yourself is applied, for example

  •  Exercise - Use the approaches described in Exercising and keeping fit
  •  Food - Cut down the carbs, cut down on saturated fats and use foods as your friend in combatting oxidative stress - the observations show which foods have been found to help.  Address any calcium imbalance by using the foods in this group
  •  Reduce stress - Use controlled breathing exercises as a way of improving circulation and helping relaxation, try to remove the causes of the stress and use relaxation techniques to help reduce stress, note that any of the activities described in the suppression category of the site would help here
  •  Toxins viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals etc - home in on the source of toxins whether pollution, smoke, drugs or pharmaceuticals and get rid of them.  Chelating agents may be needed if you have been badly exposed to such pollutants as lead or pesticides

Given that Governments with their policies do not appear to be a great deal of help, voting out badly informed [or corrupt]  Governments may also be a useful extra step.

How it works

see the observations.

In cases where endothelial dysfunction has caused hallucinations or similar experiences, the cause tends to be hypoxia

see also Blood circulatory system disease for a fuller description of this disease in context.

Related observations