Tears give clues to your heart health

Analysis of tear biomarkers could help detect heart problems.

Early detection of cardiovascular diseases is essential for prevent its development there improve the prognosis. And the the eyes can offer very reliable tracks the condition of the coronary arteries

According to a spanish searchhay ophthalmic biomarkers that could help predict the risk of ischemic heart disease or disease of the arteries, the most common of those affecting the heart. Are there composition of tears and the choroidal membrane thickness (the layer of blood vessels and tissue between the white of the eye and the retina that supplies nutrients to the inner parts of the eye).

The analysis of these biomarkers could be a useful, simple and practical tool to diagnose these diseases instead of the invasive methods used today.

Ischemic heart disease or arterial disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of world death and ischemic heart disease is the most common.

Also known as artery disease, consists of a narrowing of the arteries to the heart, which decreases blood flow to the heart muscle.

It is caused by atherosclerosis, that is, the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque in these arteries. According to the Spanish Heart Foundation, “Atherosclerosis is a slow process of collagen formation and accumulation of lipids (fats) and inflammatory cells (lymphocytes) that cause narrowing (stenosis) of the coronary arteries”.

“This process begins to first decades of life, but have no symptoms until the coronary artery stenosis becomes severe enough to cause an imbalance between the supply of oxygen to the heart (myocardium) and its needs. In this case there is a myocardial ischemia (stable angina pectoris) or sudden occlusion due to arterial thrombosiswhich causes a lack of oxygenation of the myocardium which gives rise to an acute coronary syndrome (inescapable angina e heart attack acute myocardial).

The progressive aging of the population, as well as the increase in risk factors such as hypertensionthe hypercholesterolemiathe Diabetes Oh there obesity caused an increase in ischemic heart disease.

Techniques to detect plaque

Ischemic heart disease is a slow-growing disease and should be detected early, before plaque buildup becomes excessive or causes angina pectoris or heart attack. would save lives and avoid healthcare costs.

“Currently, screening for ischemic heart disease remains controversial, as the available techniques are invasive and have a high cost for health systems”points Manuel Francisco Jiménez Navarroresearcher at CIBERCV, Virgen de la Victoria Hospital and IBIMA who coordinated the study.

Much research is underway to develop diagnostic tests that make it easier to detect atherosclerotic plaque and make it less invasive.

For example, a team of Scientific Research National Center led by cardiologist Valentín Fuster has developed a technique that consists of an ultrasound 3D arteries of the neck and groin which makes it possible to evaluate in a simple, precise and reliable way whether there is an atherosclerotic plaque. The test could become a screening tool for the general population.

The eye can warn of what is happening to the heart

The ace eye tests could be very useful to assess even faster and economic heart health.

“The eye, due to its particular structure, function and accessibility, is presented as a candidate organ for obtaining parameters for this diagnostic purpose, also considering its more than demonstrated involvement in other pathologies at the systemic level.In this sense, cardiovascular changes have also been related to signs visible to the eye, turning to this organ into a window that allows quick access to the cardiovascular system”explains Manuel Francisco Jiménez Navarro.

The team led by Jiménez Navarro analyzed data from almost a hundred patients from the Virgen de la Victoria hospital in Malaga suspected of having acute coronary disease. The patients underwent a comprehensive eye examand samples of their tear fluid were also tested for cytokines (small proteins essential for controlling the growth and activity of other cells of the immune system) and other inflammatory mediators.

The analysis of all these data allowed us to find biomarkers which, associated with classic risk markers such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc., allow early detection of atherosclerotic plaque:

  • The thickness of the choroidal membrane. The choroid is a membrane formed by a multitude of blood vessels which is located between the sclera (or white part of the eye) and the retina, which allows to bring oxygen and other nutrients to the eye . The results of this investigation allowed us to conclude that the increase in choroidal thickness is associated with the presence of coronary lesions.
  • The composition of the tear. The researchers found that higher levels of G-CSF, a growth factor involved in the formation of colonies of granulocytes (a type of white blood cell) in tears, it could be a protective factor against coronary pathology. “This is the first time that a survey has linked tear G-CSF levels to the presence of coronary heart disease, demonstrating that an increase in its levels may be a protective factor”concludes the researcher.

Leave a Comment