What is the role of inflammation?
Like a check engine light, inflammation is there to be an alarm. It lets you know something is wrong. Unlike your late-90s car dashboard lighting up, we shouldn’t ignore it. We need to look into the root cause of why the alarm is going off so we can make changes to improve.
Types of Inflammation:
Chronic Vs. Acute
This type of inflammation is something we are all familiar with from a young age. Hallmark signs include:
Reasons for acute signals come with an injury like smashing a finger or scraping a knee. The immune system becomes activated and white blood cells rush to the injury site to slow bleeding and prevent pathogenic bacteria from joining the body. This beneficial response helps the body heal and acts as an alert to dangers. In the short-term, the response is intended for a few days.
Although chronic inflammation progression is silent, the results are not. Common signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation include:
- Body pain
- Chronic fatigue and insomnia
- Depression and anxiety
- GI complications such as constipation or diarrhea
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Frequent infections
Unfortunately, there is currently no great laboratory testing measure available. Chronic inflammation is really more of a puzzle that is pieced together and often only put together once other medical conditions manifest as a result.
Long term inflammation can be a result of one or more reasons
- Not removing the cause of inflammation. This could be because of an infectious organism such as bacteria, fungus, protozoa, or other parasites.
- Exposure to a low-level irritant, such as a food sensitivity or environmental irritant.
- An autoimmune disorder – the immune system recognizes a normal part of the body as a dangerous foreign antigen, or marker for the immune system of a foreign invader.
Although chronic inflammation advances soundlessly, it is considered to be the cause of most chronic diseases. According to the CDC’s 2020 statistics, 6 in 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease, with 4 in 10 suffering from 2 or more chronic diseases. This is a nationwide challenge!
Prevention efforts are easier than disease management. Major prevention factors can be narrowed down to the big four:
- tobacco cessation
- proper nutrition
- physical activity
- appropriate alcohol use.
Get Your Gut Right
Because the majority of the immune system resides in the gut, supporting your gut is an important component to supporting your overall health. Interested in learning more about how to support your gut health? We’ve got you covered!
Our bodies have a lot to say! We just need to be present enough to listen and willing to take the steps necessary to treat the root cause.
The content in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2020 Nov 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
Written by Lorilyn VanDyke, Entegro Health