Inflamation can be a good thing. Normal inflamation is our body’s reponse to infection or injury – when inflamed you limit movement and this gives the body a better chance to heal itself.
…Chronic or sustained inflamation on the other hand is another matter. Unchecked, inflamation can destroy healthy arteries, joints and organs, leading to increased risk of diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
Recognising the signs of chronic inflammation
The problem is, you might feel relatively normal.
Symptoms, if you get them, might include
Reduced movement – difficulty moving one or several joint(s), slower movement in general
Swelling – fluid can build up sometimes around joints or generally all over the body
Pain – back ache, joint pain, soreness
Redness or heat – excess blood flow to the inflamed areas can cause heating and/or swelling
Tiredness – fatigue, lethargy and/or flu-like symptoms
The conclusive way to assess inflammation is to carry out a blood test for C-reactive protein, the marker for inflammation?
Did you know there are some foods that elicit an inflammation response in the body – aggravating conditions like arthritis or even cancer?
Why do you need to know?
Usually when inflammation is a result of infection, toxin or injury, the body reacts by accumulating plasma proteins to safeguard the area and then sending white blood cells to fight the problem.
In the case of chronic inflammation similar responses can be triggered by
Autoimmune disorders – e.g. psoriasis
Auto inflammatory diseases – e.g. Behcet disease
Obesity – the body’s response to the hormones secreted by excess fat
Diet – added sugar, trans fats
Stress – cortisol released when a person is stressed can trigger inflammatory responses
The immune system cells that cause inflammation are contributors to a build-up of plaque in arteries. This plaque can eventually block arteries in the heart completely causing a heart attack; or, break off and cause blockages to blood flow to the brain causing a stroke.
In the short to medium term, inflammation will most likely lead to less movement and therefor weight gain over time.
Reducing your risk
It is possible to control or even reverse inflammation via diet and lifestyle.
A few tips for fighting inflammation:
Manage stress – getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors that can assist with this. Other tools include yoga, meditation, guided breathing
Avoid inflammation trigger foods – too much red meat and any foods containing trans fats e.g. margarine, deep fried foods and most processed foods
Manage blood sugar – reduce simple carbohydrates like sugar, white flour, white rice
Exercise – regular aerobic and weight or resistance exercise reduces inflammation
Maintain a healthy weight – excess weight triggers more inflammation
Eat anti-inflammatory foods – fruits, vegetables and foods containing omega-3 are excellent for reducing inflammation
If you suspect you might be suffering from inflammation it is worth arranging a blood test as soon as possible. Your GP can assist or you can contact Gr8 New Me to organise this and work with your to develop meal plans that will combat inflammation going forwards.