Health

Exposure to toxic metals promotes the onset of heart disease, according to experts in Laboratory Medicine

MADRID, 28 (EUROPE PRESS)

Within the framework of the Conference of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Society of Laboratory Medicine (SEQCML), it has been warned that exposure to toxic metals can promote the appearance of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and cardiovascular disease.

In fact, the role of toxic trace elements (such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury or cerium, among others) and oxidative stress in the genesis of cardiovascular complications is an emerging area of ​​public health research.

In this regard, Dr. Montserrat González Estecha explains that exposure to lead in the general population has been very important due to its use in gasoline in the 20th century and its most studied effects on the cardiovascular system have focused mainly on its association with arterial hypertension.

In addition, lead has been associated with coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and alterations in cardiovascular function, such as left ventricular hypertrophy and heart rhythm disturbances.

For its part, cadmium, mainly from tobacco smoke, could be involved in the onset of subclinical atherosclerosis and associated with cardiovascular morbidity. “The environmental and health risk of exposure to cerium, another highly polluting trace element used as a component of catalysts and as a diesel additive, has also been evaluated,” he notes.

Regarding methylmercury from the consumption of contaminated fish, “although the evidence is weak, in adults and in some studies with a highly exposed population, a certain association has been observed with myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, arterial hypertension, decrease in heart rate variability heart rate and development of atherosclerotic plaque,” says Dr. González Estecha.

In addition, in recent years, special attention has been paid to arsenic from contaminated water and the consumption of certain foods, and it has been reported that it plays an important role in atherogenesis, hypertension, diabetes, thromboangiitis obliterans, coronary artery disease, and cerebral infarction.

Thus, Dr. González Estecha emphasizes, exposure to toxic metals causes oxidative stress, decreases the availability of nitric oxide, promotes inflammation and apoptosis, can cause endothelial damage, prevent its repair, inhibit angiogenesis and increase platelet aggregation, for which can promote the appearance of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and cardiovascular disease.

Because exposure to lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic has been very extensive in the general population, even if the effect were modest, it would imply a significant impact at the population level. “For this reason, it is essential to continue regulating and applying the necessary measures to reduce this exposure and act on lifestyle, mainly through exercise, diet and quitting smoking”, highlights the doctor.

IMPORTANCE AND MEASUREMENT OF OXIDATIVE STRESS
Likewise, an increase in oxidative stress contributes to the toxicity of toxic trace elements and to the inflammatory process associated with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In this sense, Dr. Isabel Fort explains that oxidative stress produces damage to DNA, RNA, proteins, plasmatic membrane lipids, internal mitochondrial membrane lipids and the nuclear envelope. And all these anomalies will result in an increase in thrombotic and atherogenic processes.

Given that cardiovascular pathology is not clinically or physically palpable until it is clearly established, explains this expert, for the diagnosis of this factor, “we would be talking about the measurement of oxidative stress products, taking into account that the higher the value of the same, greater probability of suffering the pathology and that it is already established in the organism”.

Therefore, in patients with diagnosed cardiovascular disease, the objective of implementing measures of magnitudes related to oxidative stress is its monitoring, as well as the redox status with the aim of reducing it.

“Taking into account that knowledge of the redox status can help the clinical management of the patient, the objective would be to restore it within physiological values ​​based on medical-clinical actions such as dietary and physical activity recommendations, as well as food and even pharmacological supplementation. “, sums up Dr. Fort Gallifa.

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