Short-term inflammation can be helpful, but sustained levels of inflammation can irritate blood vessels, and can increase the risk if a heart attack and stroke.
Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., is the associate director of preventive cardiology for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.
Dr Michos said: “We all should be making an effort to reduce chronic inflammation in our bodies.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine recalled a recent clinical trial called CANTOS that examined the effects of an anti-inflammatory drug.
Those enrolled in the study had a prior heart attack and had “elevated inflammatory markers despite statin treatment”.
The NHS explained statins are a group of prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication.
“The landmark study proved that targeting inflammation without changing cholesterol levels can have a significant impact,” explained John Hopkins Medicine.
Those treated with the anti-inflammatory treatment “reduced their risk of subsequent heart attacks or strokes by 15 percent”.
READ MORE: How to lower heart disease risk: Eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet
Smoking damages blood vessels and promotes atherosclerosis; by quitting, you can cut your heart disease risk in half.
Carrying excess weight increases your risk of multiple diseases, and high levels of visceral fat can secrete molecules that cause inflammation.
If you increase your physical activity, levels of inflammation in the body can be reduced.
A heart-healthy diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and fatty fish (whereas processed and fast foods produce inflammation).
What are processed foods?