Inflammation happens naturally in the body. It’s triggered to defend against toxins, infections, and injuries. This release of white blood cells and their antibodies and proteins can last for hours or even a few days with acute inflammation. However, when the inflammation does not diminish naturally, it can lead to damage of tissue and organs.
Chronic Vs Acute
Acute inflammation is easier to recognize as there will be pain, swelling, and/or redness. Acute inflammation will resolve in a few hours or days. However, chronic inflammation can last for months or years. Chronic inflammation is more subtle and usually goes unrecognized. Because of the symptoms, it is sometimes mistaken for other ailments. Some of the more common symptoms of chronic inflammation may include fever, fatigue, rash, chest pain, and abdominal pain.
One cause of chronic inflammation is untreated injury or infection. Other causes can be an auto immune disorder or longterm exposure to chemicals or irritants. There are also contributors to chronic inflammation…smoking, obesity, alcohol, and consistent stress. Because chronic inflammation can lead to internal scarring and even tissue death, lifestyle changes should be made to eliminate the contributors. When an infection and injury are not present and there is no lifestyle contributors, such as tobacco or alcohol use, then consult a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Because this natural defense mechanism does not resolve itself and keeps fighting, the result can be an increased risk for several diseases. The increased risk can lead to heart disease or stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
Your medical care professional can test for inflammation with blood tests. The treatments can include NSAIDS such as Advil or Aleve or steroids. Longterm use of either cone with side effects so it is important to effectively reduce inflammation with other lifestyle changes such as diet. Supplements are a safer addition. Consider fish oil or lipoic acid. There are also spices that can be consumed to reduce inflammation, such as ginger, cayenne, and garlic. To change you diet, you should also avoid processed and red meats, refined carbs, and fried foods. Instead, opt for leafy greens such as kale and spinach, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon or sardines, tomatoes, and fruit, especially cherries, oranges, and blueberries.