Chronic Inflammation is a Real Pain

Inflammation can be a quiet villain doing damage inside your bodies’ system. Under normal circumstances, some inflammation is not a bad thing.  It is your body’s natural protective responses to an illness or injury. Chronic inflammation is another story.

Chronic or systematic inflammation happens when there is a hiccup of the natural protection.  It can happen anywhere in the body, but if it happens in the heart, it can result in heart disease.  If it happens in a joint, it’s called arthritis.  In the brain, inflammation is called dementia.  Lupus is an autoimmune chronic inflammatory condition that affects 1.5 million Americans.

Chronic inflammation is considered a cause or effect of many diseases including type 2 diabetes, auto immune diseases like arthritis & Crohn’s disease, heart disease, cancer and stroke.  “Epidemiological and clinical studies have shown strong and consistent relationships between markers of inflammation and risk of future cardiovascular events.”- American Heart Association.

Obesity results in chronic inflammation since fat tissue produce and secretes over 100 types if inflammatory messengers.

Sometimes inflammation presents symptoms such as pain and lethargy, but often times, no symptoms are obvious.  You wouldn’t know you have inflammation unless you were tested.  If you are in an ‘at-risk’ category (hypertension, diabetes, smoking, borderline high-cholesterol, or borderline high blood pressure), then have your doctor test you for inflammation. If your markers are elevated, you can put preventative measures in place to reduce it.

Your doctor may put you on medication such as statins.  Diet, exercise and lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking or losing weight, should be addressed. Christopher P. Cannon, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School says “Eating well is a powerful tool against inflammation.”  Reduce saturated fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates (like white flour products and processed foods).  

Check in regularly at Paula’s Healthy Living for tips and suggestions for living a healthier lifestyle.

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