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That Nagging Bronchitis Could Be Causing More Than a Cough

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Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, director of the cardiovascular institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, tells WebMD that the study "may help explain why some people develop coronary artery disease when they don't have the conventional risk factors." Fuster says that this study is the best evidence yet in support of the infection theory, but it still needs to be confirmed before "we can buy into it to make some recommendations."

 

Although he thinks the link between infection and atherosclerosis is real, Kiechl says that he does not recommend the use of antibiotics to prevent heart attacks. "We recommend against an uncritical use of antibiotics," he tells WebMD. He points out that very little is known about the effect of "eradication of pathogens causing chronic infections ... all preventive strategies have to be tested for efficacy and side effects in controlled intervention trials."

 

But Kiechl points out that some lifestyle modifications such as stopping smoking, improving dental care, and better nutrition can lessen the incidence of some infections. He says, too, that a daily aspirin can reduce inflammation and may be part of its "cardiovascular protection."

 

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