Many people think of inflammation as being skin redness, joint swelling after exercise, or even a pimple. And it is. But there’s a different kind of inflammation that is more insidious. This is chronic inflammation, or systemic inflammation. It’s a slow, silent attack on your body and health that never switches off. And worse, it’s the underlying cause of many serious chronic diseases in our lives. Luckily there are simple changes you can easily make to reduce the chronic inflammation in your cells.
You actually need some degree of inflammation in your body to stay healthy. However it’s more and more common for the inflammatory response to get out of hand.
Inflammation serves an important purpose but when it continues indefinitely it can become dangerous. You know your immune system is stuck in “high alert” when inflammation doesn’t recede. And this is where chronic disease develops.
Effects of Chronic Inflammation
Most of the common chronic illnesses today are thought to develop when the body is in a state of chronic (or systemic) inflammation. Osteoarthritis, autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, IBS, heart disease and even cancer are just some indicators of chronic inflammation.
Many things in life both contribute to and maintain chronic inflammation. Excess weight, lack of exercise, poor diet, excess alcohol, poor oral health and ongoing stress are just some factors that lead to it. Others such as pollution and toxins in our environment can also contribute.
Stress And Chronic Inflammation
For many people stress can be the major problem. Cortisol is an important part of your body’s stress response to perceived threats. So levels of the hormone cortisol rise in response to any stressful situation. However, when stress of any type is ongoing the cortisol release mechanism doesn’t turn off. This results in persistent low grade inflammation. In some cases it can go on forever.
The first step to turn off the chronic inflammation response is to change your lifestyle. Simply switch to an anti-inflammatory diet for a significant impact.
Conditions Caused By Chronic Inflammation
- Heart disease – stroke, hypertension
- Lung issues – asthma, hay fever, COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, breathing difficulties
- Bone and joint disease – all forms of arthritis, osteoporosis
- Depression – including feeling down, sleep problems, appetite loss
- Anger disorders, aggressive behaviour
- Autoimmune – Crohn’s, Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, colitis, IBD,
- Neurological disorders – Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, Multiple Schlerosis,
Common Causes Of Inflammation
Stacking on the kilos causes fat cells to grow. This leads to immune system distress and results in an inflammatory response within the fat cells. Over time these cells become insulin-resistant which can lead to diabetes.
Whether it’s a terrible job, unhappy marriage, sick parents, overfull diary or worry about your kids makes you anxious, they’re all chronic stressors. And chronic stress causes unchecked chronic inflammation.
Poor Air Quality
Chronic inflammation is one result of smog or any other form of pollution. Tobacco smoke is probably the worst form of air pollution.
The gut is integral to your immune system. Seventy percent of it is seated within the gut. Therefore bacteria balance is crucial to the regulation of inflammation. Beneficial bacteria suppress inflammation and harmful bacteria activate it. Boost the beneficial bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Certain foods contain inulin, a prebiotic which feeds beneficial gut bacteria and keeps your gut healthy. These include onions, raw asparagus, raw dandelion greens, raw banana, yoghurt, sour cream, and raw leeks.
Gut inflammation can initiate diseases like Crohn’s or rheumatoid arthritis.
Discover how to fight inflammation in your body.
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All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only. They are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.