Heart Disease and AIH: What do they have in common?

You’ve seen the promotions urging us to “Go Red for Heart Disease” and wear red to promote heart disease awareness, this month.  February is American Heart Month.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  What do heart disease and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) have in common?  Stress is a major factor in both diseases.  Stress can trigger a stroke or a heart attack.  Stress can trigger an autoimmune flare, too.

How do we live a heart-healthier life and decrease our stress-levels?  Check out these resources to learn more about the impact of stress on our bodies; getting heart-healthy; and the overall effects of managing our stress-levels on our other major organs, including our liver:

How Minimizing Stress Can Save Your Life, by the Go Red For Women Editors, (All links were retrieved on February 8, 2013), http://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/heart_disease_research-subcategory/minimize-stress/)

Fight Heart Disease in Women – Go Red! (http://www.goredforwomen.org/)

American Heart Association (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/)

Hearthub for Patients, sponsored by the American Heart Association, provides information, resources, and tools about heart disease (http://www.hearthub.org/)

AHA Journals, sponsored by the American Heart Association, provides a list of AHA journals containing research articles on cardiovascular issues including heart disease, strokes, heart attack signs and symptoms, stress, and hypertension.  http://www.ahajournals.org/

The AHA Journals have a search engine located in the top right corner of the page.  I performed a basic keyword search for autoimmune hepatitis and received over 2,000 search results and a list of autoimmune-related articles pulled from the AHA Journals.  This is a good, time-saver tool for those of us wanting to search for a heart-specific topic.   This article is very informative about heart disease in patients with autoimmune disorders:

Atherosclerosis in Patients With Autoimmune DisordersArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2005; 25: 1776-1785   Written by Johan Frostegård, MD, PhD.  Published online before print June 23, 2005, doi: 10.1161/​01.ATV.0000174800.78362.ec.  Retrieved from http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/25/9/1776.abstract?sid=243671c7-22d0-45d6-a3aa-52e5204bfebe

Coping and Support, guidance on decreasing stress associated with living with autoimmune hepatitis, The Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autoimmune-hepatitis/DS00676/DSECTION=coping-and-support

Womenshealth.gov offers a great resource on their web site, Publications: Autoimmune Disease Fact Sheet.  This guideline offers autoimmune disease treatment information and ways to manage autoimmune flares, which can be triggered by stress.  http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/autoimmune-diseases.cfm

Here’s an excerpt from the guidelines:  Flares are the sudden and severe onset of symptoms. You might notice that certain triggers, such as stress or being out in the sun, cause your symptoms to flare. Knowing your triggers, following your treatment plan, and seeing your doctor regularly can help you to prevent flares or keep them from becoming severe. If you suspect a flare is coming, call your doctor. Don’t try a “cure” you heard about from a friend or relative. (Accessed from womenshealth.gov on February 8, 2013.  Womenshealth.gov is a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Take a stand against heart disease and stress.  Support the American Heart Association Go Red campaign and raise a little awareness about heart disease, stress, and autoimmune diseases including AIH.



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