75% of the population in developed countries suffers gastric infections caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. It constitutes one of the most prevalent “silent” risks in our midst.
Recently, work has been published on the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and the emergence of subclinical obstruction of the coronary arteries without the appearance of symptoms. The detection of Helicobacter pylori is relatively simple using an exhaled air test. The eradicating antibiotic treatment is effective in 98% of cases.
Dr. Francisco Martínez Peñalver – Neolife Medical Team
Eradicating Helicobacter pylori could be a strategy for preventing the emergence of vascular diseases.
75% of the population in developed countries suffers gastric infections caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. In most cases this pathogenic bacterium produces an asymptomatic infection which drills into the gastric mucosa, i.e. the stomach lining, producing everything from atrophic chronic gastritis to gastric ulcers, increasing the probability of the onset of stomach cancer. Detection of Helicobacter pylori is relatively simple using an exhaled air test, and eradicating antibiotic treatment is effective in 98% of cases.
Recently, work has been published on the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and the emergence of subclinical obstruction of the coronary arteries without the appearance of symptoms. Specifically, an article published by Dr. Kang of the University of Seoul suggests the possibility that eradicating Helicobacter pylori could be a strategy to prevent the emergence of vascular diseases.
To assess the impact of Helicobacter pylori on vascular risk, Dr. Kang and his team conducted a series of studies in which a series of volunteer patients were studied. It was observed that gastric biopsies testing positive for Helicobacter pylori infection had subclinical coronary obstructions up to 7 times more significant than patients whose gastric biopsy did not present infection.
The way the bacterium Helicobacter pylori interferes and promotes an increased risk of cardiovascular events remains unclear, but there are several theories. Some of the data obtained in Dr. Kang’s studies suggests that the bacterium somehow destabilizes lipid metabolism and causes deregulation of certain inflammatory proteins such as TNF, which moves lipids to the walls of the vessel. In addition, Helicobacter pylori is a direct cause of vascular endothelial dysfunction due to the secretion of a toxic substance, cytotoxin A, which produces endothelial damage, increased oxidative stress at the local level and platelet aggregation. These conditions are ideal for beginning the formation of atheromatous plaque.
Evidently, this model applied to healthy voluntary subjects can overlap with patients who present other vascular risk factors or even those who have already had a previous cardiovascular event, which makes Helicobacter pylori infection another element to be considered for patients who are in secondary prevention because a vascular lesion has been detected in the subclinical phase or, as we have already pointed out, because they have already suffered a cardiovascular event.
In summary, Helicobacter pylori infection constitutes one of the most prevalent “silent” risks in our midst. We say “silent” because in the vast majority of cases infected patients are asymptomatic. But, as we know, the infection predisposes the onset of numerous complications at the local gastric level, from simple acute gastritis to the onset of cancer.
This newsletter wants to emphasize that Helicobacter pylori can cause the initial affectation of the cardiovascular system remotely, or it can worsen certain pre-existing lesions by accelerating the process of forming atherosclerosis plaque.
At Neolife, the breath test used to detect Helicobacter pylori infection is one of our basic onco-prevention tests, but based on the data collected it will also become part of the group of tests we perform during screening for subclinical lesions of the cardiovascular system.
(1) Infección por H pylori. Guías de Atención Primaria de Fisterra. https://www.fisterra.com/guias-clinicas/ulcera-peptica-helicobacter-pylori/. Last update Aug ‘13.
(2) Minyoung L et al. Current Helicobacter infection is significantly associated with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in healthy subjects: A cross-sectional study. PLoS One. March 2nd
(3) Rezaee-Zavareh MS et al. Infectious and coronary artery disease. ARYA Atheroscler. 2016; 12: 41–49.