You're running to the toilet like nobody's business... and doubled over in pain... but you'd rather TOUGH it out than TALK it out.
When you've got inflammatory bowel disease (a.k.a. IBD), your toilet troubles can be rather embarrassing to discuss! In my practice, I often see patients with IBD who've been suffering silently for YEARS.
But as mortifying as symptoms like frequent diarrhea may seem, you'll want to seek help for them sooner rather than later. Because left unchecked, IBD can wreak HAVOC in your gut and lead to complications that range from bowel obstruction to colon cancer.
And according to a new study, that's not even the worst of it -- because over the years, IBD can also silently do damage to your HEART!
In the study, which was recently presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, researchers analyzed the health records of more than 22 million people nationwide to get a look at patient histories of IBD and heart attacks.
After they crunched the numbers, it turned out that heart attacks were TWICE as common among those with IBD as they were among those without it.
Not only that, but IBD patients were also more likely to have risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
The theory is that the chronic inflammation that's raging in your gut can also ramp up inflammation elsewhere in your body, including your heart.
And we've known for a while that inflammation plays a key role in the development of heart disease -- because inflamed arteries can thicken over time, reducing blood flow and upping the risk of clots.
What's more, we know that in IBD, the population of bacteria in your gut is disrupted, with "bad" bugs outnumbering the "good."
And studies have shown that when these microbes are out of whack, it can make you more susceptible to risk factors for heart disease... and directly up your odds of heart failure.
Now, even though there's no cure for IBD, you can tamp down the inflammation AND ease your symptoms by rebalancing the critters in your gut.
Taking probiotics and eating fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut can help keep bad gut bacteria in check.
Studies have shown that accumulation of yeast plays a role in IBD, so try adding natural antifungals like garlic, oil of oregano, and grapefruit seed extract to your treatment regimen.
Refined carbs are also known to trigger inflammation and IBD flare-ups, so I recommend following the low-carb Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman") diet, which eliminates all grains, sugars, and processed foods.
And stay active -- because exercise is not only good for your heart, but it also boosts the number of good bugs in your belly.
I'll have more on how getting a little activity can save your heart from failing later today. Keep an eye out.