New Gut-Heart Connection In Heart Disease Stuns Researchers

Researchers have recently discovered a connection between the human heart and digestive system, which could forever change the way that doctors treat patients who have heart disease.

Cleveland Clinic researchers found that small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) is often linked to coronary artery disease (CAD). Once the medical jargon is stripped from their findings, the conclusion is quite simple: Many patients who have one of these health issues were found to have the other as well.

Patients with SIBO experience a range of side effects, including bloating and abdominal discomfort. The flora found in the digestive system have always been a point of focus for researchers, mainly due to the fact that gut health issues often point towards inflammation elsewhere in the body. Until now, though, scientists haven't focused on the link between gut health and heart health.

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Heart Disease Is The #1 Killer In The United States

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and these findings could save many lives by providing doctors with the chance to make an early diagnosis. Around 11% of the American population suffers from coronary artery disease; 20% of the population lives with small intestine bacteria overgrowth.

Researchers can't yet say if SIBO causes CAD or if CAD causes SIBO, but uncovering a correlation between the two has already proven to be hugely important.

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The Metabolic Process Could Be The Missing Link

Cleveland Clinic researchers believed that the metabolic processes involved in digestion could very well factor into coronary artery disease.

“We actually don’t know the order of the causal relationship, and that’s what makes the research even more interesting,” explains gastroenterologist Dr. Bo Shen. “We postulate that there is a poorly understood gut-heart axis in which there is a bidirectional relationship.”

“It is thought that gut bacteria may induce obesity,” Dr. Shen added. “SIBO has been shown to be more common in morbidly obese patients, and we don’t know if it is a cause or a consequence.”

Beyond obesity, SIBO has also been linked to diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Further research will have to be conducted in order to pinpoint cause and effect, but this study has taken an important step in the right direction.

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