Chronic Inflammation and Your Body
May 25, 2017 12:33PM
Chronic inflammation in the body has become a modern widespread epidemic. It is the source of many diseases including cancer, obesity and heart disease, which make it the leading cause of death in the U.S. With our overly toxic lifestyles, one has to be mindful in reducing his or her exposure to toxins as much as possible. Inflammation comes from many different avenues, it is your body’s response to stress from either your diet, lifestyle or environment.
Psychological, emotional and physical stress raises your cortisol levels, which further contribute to creating inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect itself by removing harmful stimuli, like damaged cells, irritants or pathogens. Infections like those caused by bacterium, virus, fungus or parasites contribute to chronic inflammation by producing metabolic waste products that, if not properly eliminated, will accumulate. Chronic low-grade inflammation destroys your body’s natural balance and makes you more susceptible to disease and aging.
Chronic inflammation is low-grade and systemic, silently damaging your tissues over an extended period of time. In more technical terms, it is the result of the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from immune-related cells and the chronic activation of the innate immune system. If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to excess inflammation and degeneration in your body. Autoimmune diseases happen when the body is inflamed and the immune system mistakenly targets the body’s own tissues as seen in diseases like Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Symptoms of inflammation in the body include:
- Achy muscles, joints, stiffness and heightened pain sensitivity
- Acid reflux
- Acne, eczema or psoriasis
- Aging like visible wrinkles
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Susceptibility to bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections
- Urinary tract infections
The single most important thing you can do right now to decrease chronic inflammation in your body is to improve your diet. Stop eating refined, processed and manufactured foods. These types of foods will never be good for you.
Additionally, make sure to: exercise regularly, avoid antibiotics, antacids and NSAIDS as much as possible, get adequate sleep, get sunshine and check your vitamin D levels, get a massage and lymphatic drainage, sweat, detox, reduce toxins in your food, home and personal care products, decrease alcohol consumption, avoid processed food and refined sugar and explore, diagnose and treat chronic infections lurking in your body.
Isabel Sharkar, ND, is a licensed naturopathic physician and co-owner of Indigo Integrative Health Clinic, in Georgetown. For more information, call 202-298-9131 or visit IndigoHealthClinic.com.