Chronic Inflammation – One Foot in the Grave

When you think of inflammation in the body, you probably think of an infection causing part of your body to react with redness, swelling or pain, then these symptoms disappearing once the infection has passed.

Inflammation is normally a good sign, meaning that your immune system is healthy and ready to fight off infection.

But it’s when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to genetic mutations, a wide range of diseases and ultimately even cancer. The scary thing is that most people don’t even know they’re chronically inflamed.

There are blood tests that can screen for inflammation, but they can be expensive. When your body is chronically inflamed, it releases extra proteins from the inflammation site into your bloodstream and this is what they can test for.

Subtle symptoms may also pop up indicating your body is constantly under stress. So whether you go to get tested or just notice your body feeling a bit off or under stress, it’s absolutely essential to understand the causes and effects of chronic inflammation and change your lifestyle if you need to, in order to rid yourself of this damaging condition.

What Exactly is Inflammation?

Simply put, inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to injury. There are 2 types: short-term (acute) inflammation and long-term (chronic) inflammation.

Acute inflammation

Acute inflammation happens when your body is injured or infected in some way, and usually happens over 24-48 hours with signs like redness, pain, swelling and heat. The body increases blood flow to the affected area and the immune system goes to work repairing the damaged area. It’s not always pleasant to experience, but it’s the body’s way of fighting off injury and restoring itself to health. Think about a sore throat, rash, scab or sprained ankle; all of these are forms of acute inflammation. Once the injured area has healed, the inflammation goes away.

Chronic inflammation

When inflammation stays around, it becomes chronic and is no longer a healing process but rather a symptom that something is very wrong somewhere in the body. Basically, your immune response has not been turned off so your immune system is running out of control, releasing pro-inflammatory immune cells when they’re not needed anymore. These excess immune cells floating around your body can cause all kinds of damage to your health if left unchecked. Your body is essentially in constant defense mode and this extra stress is very detrimental to your health.

What Problems does Chronic Inflammation Cause?

The scary truth about chronic inflammation is that it has been linked to nearly every chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, allergies, asthma, Alzheimer’s, obesity… and the list goes on and on. Modern research has correctly identified chronic inflammation as a major root in all of these diseases, and many more. But why does it compromise your health so much?

Well, for one thing chronic inflammation takes up a ton of your body’s energy and resources as your immune is constantly fighting off what it perceives to be infection or injury. And secondly, having all these powerful immune cells in your body when they’re not needed causes changes to your healthy cells, and even genetic mutations that can lead to various cancers. The way these immune cells interact with your healthy cells leads to the many diseases previously mentioned, along with many others.

What Causes Chronic Inflammation? (Read Part 2 of 3)

 

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