What you need to know about inflammation Image

Inflammation is your body’s response to fighting things that harm you, like infection, injury and toxins. The body releases chemicals that trigger your immune system to respond, by releasing antibodies, proteins and increased blood flow to the damaged area = inflammation. Normally this only lasts a few hours or days. Chronic inflammation occurs when this response lingers and your body is in a contant state of alert. Over time chronic inflammation has a negative effect on your body and may lead to long-term health issues such as stroke and cancer.

 

Symptoms of chronic inflammation

Acute inflammation is noticeable with symptims such as pain, redness and swelling. Symptoms of chronic inflammation are more subtle, and can include:

  • body pain
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • persistent infections
  • fatigue
  • depression or anxiety
  • weight loss or gain.

These symptoms can range in their severeness and can last for months or even years.

 

Causes of chronic inflammation

There are many things that can cause chronic inflammation including:

  • untreated acute inflammation such as injury or infection
  • smoking
  • alcohol consumption
  • chronic stress
  • obesity
  • an autoimmune disorder
  • long term exposure to chemicals and pollutions.

However not everyone is the same and some causes of chronic inflammation arent always clear.

The effects of chronic inflammation on the body

Chronic inflammation can eventually lead to damage of your healthy cells, tissues and organs. Over time it may lead to chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cognitive decline, dementia, obesity and asthma. This is why keeping inflammation down is a crucial part of your overall health.

 

Diagnosing chronic inflammation

No single test can diagnose inflammation on its own, however there are some markers that help diagnose inflammation in the body. These markers can be found via blood tests. These are the main blood tests that are used to help diagnose inflammation:

  • The C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test.
  • The Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPE) test.
  • The Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) test.
  • The Plasma Viscosity test.

If you feel like you’re experiencing some of the chronic inflammation symptoms, speaking to your GP about these tests is a good place to start.

 

Treating chronic inflammation

Removing or reducing the cause of your inflammation is the first step in treating it. Lifestyle changes can make the biggest impact when it comes to treating chronic inflammation. This can include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight – obesity is a form of inflammation, therefore it is important to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Increase physical activity – exercise releases an anti-inflammortory response in the body, so 20-30 minutes of regular daily exercise is recommended.
  • Limit or give up alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid certain foods – highly processed foods can add to inflammation in the body. This includes processed meats (such as hot dogs, sausages and cured meats), vegetable oils and trans fats, refined carbohydrates (such as white bread and pasta, biscuits and cakes) and sugar (such as sugary drinks, lollies and ice cream).
  • Manage your stress – the link between stress-related diseases and inflammation is well-established, so if stress is an issue for you, it’s important to find ways to manage it well.
  • Taking supplements – fish oil, lipodic acid, and curcumin may reduce inflammation.
  • Speak to your healthcare professional(s) about achieving these lifestyle changes, as many of them are easier said than done and you may need further help or advice.
  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods
  • Eating anti-inflammatory food can also assist in fighting inflammation. These foods include berries and cherries, oily fish – like salmon and mackerel, vegetables – like broccoli, leafy greens, cabbage, olive oil, tomatoes, capsicum, avocados, nuts, green tea and spices – like turmuric and cinnamon. All of these foods, and more, have anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Where to now?

It’s important to remember that inflammation is a normal and natural part of your body’s immune system response, and that acute inflammation is part of the healing process that can occur when you have a small cut or a sore throat. Acute inflammation goes away as you heal. It is the long-term / chronic inflammation that can lead to damaging effects.

If you’re experiencing any signs of long-term inflammation, make an appointment with your doctor. They can determine if you need further tests or treatment.

 

For more information and our source visit www.healthline.com

 

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