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Chronic Inflammation – The Silent Killer?

inflammationInflammation is our body’s natural immune response to trauma, infection or allergens. There are two kinds of inflammation:

Acute Inflammation

If you sprain your ankle, the area swells and becomes hot. If you become infected with a virus or bacteria, you may develop a sore throat or a fever. These are examples of your immune system at work. When your body perceives it is under threat, it releases pro-inflammatory compounds to fight off infections. This kind of inflammation is short term and likely to subside after a few days when the threat has been addressed and your body releases anti-inflammatory compounds to halt the inflammation. Acute inflammation that ebbs and flows signifies a well-balanced immune system.

Chronic Inflammation

This occurs when the body’s inflammation response continues to release pro-inflammatory cells even when there is no immediate threat. In this case, it means an immune system poised on high alert all the time. Over a long period of time, this can cause serious damage to tissues and cells, as well as weaken the body due to repeated or prolonged stress.

The Common Denominator

Chronic inflammation has been dubbed “The Common Denominator” of serious diseases and illnesses including heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, strokes, kidney diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic lower respiratory disease. It can affect the body in a myriad of ways. For example, chronic inflammation of the gut can decrease the absorption of nutrients, affecting overall health. It has been linked to heart diseases, where inflamed blood vessels may cause blockages and blood clots leading to heart attacks. Chronic inflammation in the lungs is also a factor in diseases such as asthma or chronic bronchitis. When the lungs are inflamed, fluid can accumulate narrowing airways and impede breathing. Studies have also shown that chronic inflammation is also associated with increased bone loss and lack of bone growth.

Causes

Chronic inflammation may stem from a range of lifestyle and environmental factors such as a poor diet, the lack of exercise, pollution, stress, the lack of sleep and smoking. In the case of a poor diet, some believe that the cause of chronic inflammation has its roots in the digestive system, specifically bacterial, virus or fungal infections introduced in to the bloodstream and organs like the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract.

What Can You Do

Although chronic inflammation does not appear to have any symptoms, doctors may test for it in a variety of ways including checking a patient’s C-reactive protein levels (CRP), which increase when the body is inflamed.

A serious review of your gut health is highly recommended to assess what may have caused a chronic inflammation in the first place. Treating an unhealthy gut, fortifying it and restoring it to health are keys to eliminating chronic inflammation and preventing it from returning. A diet and lifestyle change is also necessary, including introducing a low-glycemic or anti-inflammatory diet, reducing the consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, managing stress and increasing a regular exercise regime.

If you are think you may be suffering from chronic inflammation or wish to improve your gut health, find out how we can help you at Sante Sanctuary.