The word inflammation may bring to mind a swollen ankle or a rash on the surface of the skin. This is correct, but inflammation is also so much more than what we can see with our eyes. Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against anything that might harm it. This can include infections, injuries, and toxins, all in a greater attempt to heal itself. Your body’s natural response to repair damaged cells includes releasing antibodies, proteins, and blood flow to the damaged area. That is what is referred to as acute inflammation since it doesn’t last more than a few days at most. Today, we will be focusing on chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation happens when the inflammation in your body is constant and lasts longer than normal. This leaves your body in a state of defense and shock. As time progresses, chronic inflammation can have a seriously negative impact on your tissues, organs, and more. Chronic inflammation has been shown to be the root of conditions ranging from acne to cancer.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
When we think of inflammation, most often we are thinking of acute inflammation. The symptoms of acute inflammation are often very clear and noticeable. They can include redness, swelling, and pain. Chronic inflammation symptoms are often not as clear and tend to be overlooked. They can include:
- Mouth sores (canker sores and cold sores)
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
What Causes Chronic Inflammation?
Acute inflammation can be caused by something as simple as stubbing your toe on the door. It is often treated just as easily. Chronic inflammation is not always as simple, but knowing what causes inflammation can help for it to be treated quickly. This will reduce the chances of it leading to a more serious issue. It is also important to note that the cause of chronic inflammation can be different on a case by case basis. For some, the cause of their chronic inflammation may be unclear. But it is important to know some of the most common causes. They include:
- Infection or injury left untreated. (untreated acute inflammation)
- An autoimmune disorder.
- Long term exposure to irritants, chemicals, or pollution
- Chronic Stress
How Can I Reduce Chronic Inflammation?
By making changes to your lifestyle, chronic inflammation can be controlled and in some cases, reduced. Some people are more prone to chronic inflammation than others. Everyone with a family history of health problems should talk to their physician to learn more about what they can do. By making healthy changes to their lifestyle and diet, preventing diseases and controlling chronic inflammation can be increased.
- Focus on an anti-inflammatory diet: Just like everything in life, you get out what you put in. This is especially true with our bodies. By giving our body the proper fuel and building blocks it requires, we can live a long, healthy life. If we put in nothing but junk food, we can’t be upset when all we get out is junk. Reducing your refined sugar intake and processed food is important. Be sure to include more fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. A great example of this diet is the “Mediterranean Diet”.
- Reduce inflammatory foods: While this may sound like a “no-brainer” in an article about chronic inflammation, but it must be said. It requires more than just eating foods that reduce inflammation, you need to also stop eating the foods that cause inflammation. These foods might be sneaky and because of this, it is important to read the labels and pay attention to what you are eating. This includes red meat, trans fats, fried foods, and almost all processed foods.
- Control Blood Sugar: By avoiding foods with high sugar content you can reduce inflammation. This includes more than just sweets, it also includes white flour, rice, and pasta.
- Exercise: Get active! Try to incorporate daily exercise into your routine, even if it is just 30 minutes a day. Staying active is a great way to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
- Lose Weight: Overweight people are more prone to chronic inflammation and negative health effects. By making changes to diet and incorporating a more active lifestyle, you can work on controlling your weight. Losing weight may lead to a decrease in inflammation.
- Manage Stress: Managing stress is so important for controlling chronic inflammation in the body. Although we may not be able to control the events in our day-to-day life that may invoke stress, we can control how we react to it. By using constructive methods such as yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, and more.
Talk to Your Doctor Today
At Hillandale Primary Care we know that health has many variables and factors. If you feel like you may be experiencing symptoms of chronic inflammation, we can help you make lifestyle changes. Call or contact Hillandale Primary Care today to get checked out and live healthier today!