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Lifelong Health

Heart disease: not just a 'plumbing problem'

Heart disease, which affects one in six Australians, is a result of much more than a ‘plumbing problem’. A typically normal bodily response, inflammation, is often to blame.

Inflammation: best friend and worst enemy

Inflammation generally is our body’s way of self-protecting; of fighting off infection. As plaque develops, the arteries in your heart change shape, causing the creation of inflammatory cells. When these inflammatory cells enter the artery walls of people who smoke, have high blood pressure or suffer from diabetes, they may do the opposite of what they are intended to do.

Understanding what drives inflammation

Much of SAHMRI Heart Health’s research is based around inflammation – better understanding it, better ways of detecting it and ultimately designing improved therapies to treat it.


Professor Nicholls is affiliated with The University of Adelaide.

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SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and pays respect to the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region. We also acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and the relationship of the Kaurna people to their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna peoples' ancestors and the living Kaurna people today.