It is smart first to discover the roots of any health issues/conditions. One of the roots of most diseases is inflammation a broad an ancient term initially referring to a set of classic signs and symptoms including edema, redness, warmness, pain and loss of function (stiffness and immobility).
Inflammation occurs when your body’s defense mechanisms kick in as a response to a threat. This inflammatory response helps fight against infections, injuries, and toxins and causes a release of antibodies and proteins in an attempt to heal the body.
Let’s Start with the Beginning…What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body. It is a complex process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation is a “second-line” defense against infectious agents.
When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it. The signs and symptoms of inflammation can be uncomfortable but are a show that the body is trying to heal itself.
Types of Inflammation – Brief Description
There are two different types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is a protective process that is designed to rid the body of the inciting agent and set up the process of repair.
Acute Inflammation only lasts for a short time and can become severe. It can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and subsides once healing takes place. There are few symptoms that may be signs of an acute inflammation:
- Redness: The increased blood flow to the injured or infected area can cause redness of the skin.
- Heat: The injured or infected body part might feel hot due to the increased blood flow to the area.
- Swelling: The fluids that accumulate around the injury to allow for healing can cause swelling.
- Pain: The infected area can feel quite painful due to the impact of the injury.
- Immobile: The body part may become stiff and immobile due to the pain.
Inflammations don’t always cause all the symptoms. Some inflammations occur “silently” and don’t cause any symptoms. High-intensity exercise and injury can also cause this problem.
Chronic inflammation has a longer time course (days to years) and involves different cell types than does acute inflammation (lymphocytes and macrophages versus neutrophils). Also, in chronic inflammation, tissue repair coexists with tissue destruction.
Explanation of Terms
Lymphocytes are a special type of white blood cell. There are two major classes of lymphocytes: T cells and B cells. B cells make up about 5% to 15% of the lymphocytes in our bodies. B cells develop in the bone marrow and are responsible for producing antibodies. There are thousands of different B cells in our body, each of which produces a unique antibody. T cells develop in the thymus and help coordinate a rapid and tailored immune response to specific infectious organisms.
Macrophages are large white blood cells found in body tissues. In blood, they were traditionally said to exist as monocytes that differentiate into different types once they leave blood circulation and migrate to damaged tissue.
Neutrophils are the white blood cells that arrive first at the site of injury. They release chemical signals that attract other immune cells in an effort to help protect the body.
Research is showing that Chronic Inflammation may be the common factor/the root in many diseases.
Main Signs of “Hidden” Inflammation
Inflammation actually is good in the short run. It’s part of your immune system’s natural response to heal an injury or fight an infection. It’s supposed to stop after that. But if it becomes a long-lasting habit in your body, that can be bad for you. Long-term, or “chronic,” inflammation is seen in many diseases and conditions.
Stress both physiological & psychological, triggers the release of cortisol (the stress hormone). Which in turn can cause an imbalance in your blood sugar and suppress your immune system in an attempt to reduce inflammation. Cortisol secretion is essential in the short-term, however chronic stress can lead to the overproduction of cortisol that leads to persistent inflammation. In order to keep your cortisol levels at bay you need to eat clean and spend some time on stress management. Stress reduction is the key to reducing inflammation.
Recent studies have shown that depression and chronic inflammation may have more in common than we think. Brain scans of people with depression show more inflammation than people who don’t have depression. One study even found that 46% of people with depression had higher levels of C-reactive proteins – an inflammatory marker – in their blood.
Plenty of sunlight, low stress, a healthy diet, exercise, plenty of sleep, and relaxation techniques might help lower the inflammatory response and reduce depression symptoms. While depression is a complex illness, supplements and natural remedies should at least make symptoms more manageable.
“Brain fog” isn’t a medical condition. It’s a term used for certain symptoms that can affect your ability to think. You may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience said that inflammation of the brain might cause brain fog.
Several studies have shown that luteolin, a flavonoid of the flavone class, can help protect the brain by reducing inflammation, boosting antioxidants, and increasing memory. You can either take a supplement or eat foods rich in luteolin such as radicchio, sweet green peppers, serrano peppers, green hot chili peppers, chicory greens, celery, lemon, pumpkin, and red leaf lettuce.
In some diseases, like arthritis, the body’s defense system — the immune system — triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected or somehow abnormal.
Some, but not all, types of arthritis are the result of misdirected inflammation. Arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation in the joints. Some types of arthritis associated with inflammation include the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Gouty arthritis
Other painful conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system that may not be associated with inflammation include osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, muscular low back pain, and muscular neck pain.
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Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to “leak” through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.
Chronic inflammation is tied to supposed symptoms of leaky gut syndrome which include bloating, food sensitivities, fatigue, digestive issues and skin problems. It happens when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy bacteria in your gut and causes inflammation that sticks around.
Healing the gut is usually the first step to treating inflammation, says Dr. Wijetilaka (Internist, Primary Care Doctor, New York, NY). Eliminating dairy and gluten, inflammatory triggers for many people, can help.
In fact nutrition is considered one of the most effective strategies to reduce whole-body inflammation, and hence we must avoid the consumption of inflammatory foods such as; sugary drinks, fried foods, processed foods, and foods that contain refined flour (maida), artificial sweeteners, additives & preservatives. The aim is to consume a fibre and antioxidant rich diet consisting of whole grains, fresh fruit & veg, adequate protein and healthy fats.
Lifestyle is the thing you can change fastest and the one thing you can control.
In general, following a healthy lifestyle that includes fresh, whole foods, exercise, quality sleep, low stress, positive relationships, good thoughts, and relaxation techniques will greatly reduce your inflammation levels.
The information on this article is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a qualified, licensed medical professional. The facts presented are offered as information only, not medical advice, and in no way should anyone infer that we are practicing medicine. Seek the advice of a medical professional for proper application of this material to any specific situation.
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