Why OpsisDx? Cardiovascular Disease

‘Why OpsisDx?’ is a blog series written by people part of the Entopsis-verse and offers insights into potential OpsisDxTM addressable medical conditions.

In modern times, cardiovascular disease (CVD) has become just as worrisome as epidemics in the early stages of medicine. Currently, CVD accounts for around 50% of deaths in richer countries, making it an important area for research, therapeutics and diagnostics. 

Known cardiovascular risk factors include lipid disorders, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes and sedentariness (1). Although these risk factors are broad and encompass many areas, the influence of the microbiome, complex stress responses and psychiatric disorders also play a crucial role in the biochemical and physiological profile of at-risk individuals. 

In recent years, the microbiome has sparked the interest of scientists and physicians alike due to it’s crucial role in all sorts of physiological functions i.e., immune response, pathogen protection, endocrine functions, bone density, vascularization, among others (3). The highly intricate relationship the gut microbiome has to cardiovascular disease has yet to be fully elucidated, especially considering there are trillions of bacteria inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract producing all sorts of metabolites (2). Most of the physiological responses to stress via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical and sympatho-adrenomedullary axes are extensively described, including the increased sympathetic activation, pro-inflammatory and procoagulant responses (4). Stress is a well-established risk factor, but due to differences in acute vs. long-term stress, its precise link to CVD has yet to be solidified to the point of improving earlier diagnostics (4,5).   

Another important link to cardiovascular disease is mental illness. Patients with conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder have 51% higher chance of coronary heart disease (CHD) (6). Although mental illness and CVD seem to have a similar etiology, it is important to note that the several comorbid psychiatric conditions such as obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and, glucose intolerance or insulin resistance, serve as major indicators of metabolic syndrome that may be linked to cardiac events (6).  

The efforts to ameliorate the excess burden of cardiovascular disease in the modern world are unparalleled, given that CVD is now the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide (7). Additionally, the global number of deaths occurring from cardiovascular events has increased by nearly 13% only in the last decade, accounting for about one third of all deaths globally (7).

The multifactorial etiology, risk factors and complex pathways playing a part in cardiovascular disease highlight the need for flexible diagnostic approaches that take into account diverse inputs when providing a diagnosis. OpsisDxTM, with its ability to unbiasedly capture overall changes in the bio-molecular composition of bio-fluids, may be perfectly suited to diagnose CVD and associated malignancies early and may even assist in determining optimal treatments.

  1. Jokinen, E. “Obesity and cardiovascular disease.” Minerva pediatrica vol. 67,1 (2015): 25-32.
  2. Peng, Jieting et al. “Interaction between gut microbiome and cardiovascular disease.” Life sciences vol. 214 (2018): 153-157. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2018.10.063
  3. Lynch, Susan V, and Oluf Pedersen. “The Human Intestinal Microbiome in Health and Disease.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 375,24 (2016): 2369-2379. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1600266
  4. Kivimäki, Mika, and Andrew Steptoe. “Effects of stress on the development and progression of cardiovascular disease.” Nature reviews. Cardiology vol. 15,4 (2018): 215-229. doi:10.1038/nrcardio.2017.189
  5. Steptoe, Andrew, and Mika Kivimäki. “Stress and cardiovascular disease.” Nature reviews. Cardiology vol. 9,6 360-70. 3 Apr. 2012, doi:10.1038/nrcardio.2012.45
  6. De Hert, Marc et al. “The intriguing relationship between coronary heart disease and mental disorders.” Dialogues in clinical neuroscience vol. 20,1 (2018): 31-40.
  7. GBD 2015 DALYs and HALE Collaborators. “Global, regional, and national disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 315 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy 
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