Healthy lifestyles begin in our homes, workplaces, and communities. And the conditions in which we live can shape our health and longevity. IFM Executive Director of Medical Education Robert Luby, MD, talks about how everyday stress affects the cardiovascular system:
The vascular endothelium responds to its environment. The environment of the vascular endothelium is what passes through the lumen. What passes through the lumen are molecules of information. These molecules of information go a long way to determine the health and the reactivity of that endothelium; therefore, that reactivity of the blood vessel.
Some of the most potent messengers of communication to these blood vessels are hormones that are released during times of stress. When there are stressful social relationships, there will be adverse reactions of these heart vessels. That’s the crux of the matter. Over time, in low doses, if we can say, social stressors—relationship stressors can cause problems, which build up as antecedents to finally result in a heart attack, for example, or a cardiovascular event. We also know that acute emotional stressors and social stressors can actually trigger that ultimate heart event, heart attack or other. We know that when somebody is suffering from a broken heart, their physiological and anatomical heart suffers.
That’s the art of medicine that we can address as Functional Medicine practitioners, as well as the molecules of medicine. That’s the great opportunity we have, and that’s the kind of training you’ll get with IFM: addressing the molecules and addressing the human element of cardiovascular health.
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