Heart and gum disease linked

Common gene mutation is linked to both, new research finds

Coronary heart disease and periodontitis share several similarities: both are characterized by chronic inflammation, and are associated with the same risk factors, including smoking, diabetes and obesity. What’s more, there are similarities between the bacteria in the oral cavity, and those in coronary plaques. Even so, their exact link has been a mystery. Now, researchers at the University of Kiel have found a gene linking the conditions, the BBC reports. The gene, which can be found on chromosome 9, has already been associated with heart attacks; in the latest study, it was found in a group of 1,097 patients with heart disease, and in 151 with aggressive, early onset periodontitis. In both conditions, the genetic variaton was the same. “Now we know for sure that there is a strong genetic link, patients with periodontitis should try to reduce their risk factors and take preventive measures at an early stage,” study leader Dr Arne Schaefer said. “In the meantime, because of its association with CHD, we think that periodontitis should be taken very seriously by dentists and diagnosed and treated as early as possible.”

BBC News

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