Chronic inflammation: how to recognize the symptoms on your body

Inflammation is the process by which your body fights against things that are harmful to it, such as infections, injuries and toxins, in an effort to heal itself.
When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system.

This response includes the release of antibodies and proteins, as well as increased blood flow to the damaged area. In the case of acute inflammation, such as a cut on the knee or a cold, the whole process usually lasts only a few hours or a few days. Chronic inflammation occurs when this response persists, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Over time, chronic inflammation can negatively impact your tissues and organs. According to some research, chronic inflammation may also play a role in a range of conditions, from cancer to stroke.

Let’s take a look at chronic inflammation, including common causes and foods that might help fight it.

What are the symptoms of chronic inflammation?

Acute inflammation often causes visible symptoms, such as pain, redness or swelling. But the symptoms of chronic inflammation are usually much more subtle. So it’s easy to overlook them.

Common symptoms of chronic inflammation are:

– tiredness
– body pain
– depression or anxiety
– gastrointestinal complications (diarrhea or constipation)
– weight gain
– weightloss
– persistent infections

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and last for months or years.

What causes chronic inflammation?

Several things can cause chronic inflammation, including:

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– untreated causes of acute inflammation, such as infection or injury
– an autoimmune disorder, which involves your immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue
– long-term exposure to irritants, such as industrial chemicals or polluted air.
Remember that these problems do not cause chronic inflammation in everyone. Also, some cases of chronic inflammation have no clear underlying cause.

Experts also believe that a range of factors can also contribute to chronic inflammation, such as:

– smoking
– obesity
– the alcohol
– chronic stress

What is the impact of chronic inflammation on the body?

When you live with chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually begin to damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring.

All these phenomena are linked to the development of several diseases, including the following:

– the cancer
– heart disease
– rheumatoid arthritis
– type 2 diabetes
– obesity
– asthma
– cognitive decline and dementia (in the elderly)

How is chronic inflammation diagnosed?

There are no real tests to diagnose inflammation as such. But some blood tests are a good place to start, including those that show C-reactive protein (CRP), which indicates infections or inflammation in the body generally (such as the joints), and C- high sensitivity reactive (hsCRP), which reflects inflammation of the heart. Many people are unaware that they have chronic inflammation until they are diagnosed with another disease. If you think you have some of the common symptoms of chronic inflammation, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. He will know what are the first steps to take when it comes to diagnosis.

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How is chronic inflammation treated?

Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process. But when it becomes chronic, it’s important to try to control it to reduce the risk of long-term damage. Here are some of the options that have been explored to manage inflammation:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, are effective in reducing inflammation and pain. But their long-term use is linked to an increased risk of several diseases, including peptic ulcer disease and kidney disease.

Steroids. Corticosteroids are a type of steroid hormone. They decrease inflammation and suppress the immune system, which is helpful when the immune system begins to attack healthy tissue. But long-term use of corticosteroids can lead to vision problems, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. When prescribing corticosteroids, your doctor will weigh the benefits and risks with you.

Supplements. Certain supplements can help reduce inflammation. Fish oil, lipoic acid, and curcumin have all been linked to lower inflammation – although more studies need to be done, especially on fish oil, to be sure. . Several spices, including ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper, may also help fight chronic inflammation and inflammatory diseases, but again, more research on optimal dosage and definitive statements are needed.

Lifestyle changes. Weight loss (if recommended by your doctor), increased physical activity, and dietary changes (such as a low glycemic index diet and reduced saturated fat intake) have been shown to help reduce inflammation.

What is the impact of diet on chronic inflammation?

What you eat can play both a positive and negative role in managing chronic inflammation.

Foods to eat

A variety of foods are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. These include foods rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, such as:

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– olive oil
– leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach
– tomatoes
– fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
– nuts
– fruits, especially cherries, blueberries and oranges.

If your doctor or dietitian has recommended that you change your eating habits, consider talking with them about the Mediterranean diet.

Foods to avoid

The following foods are known to increase inflammation in some people:

– refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
– fried foods, such as French fries
– processed meat, such as sausages and ready meals

If you’re trying to reduce chronic inflammation, your doctor may recommend reducing your intake of these foods. You don’t have to eliminate them completely, but try to consume them only occasionally.

In summary

Chronic inflammation can increase your risk for several serious diseases. Dietary supplements, keeping stress levels low (when possible), exercising, and adopting a less inflammatory diet can all help reduce your risk of living with chronic inflammation. , but before changing your lifestyle, it is always best to talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to diagnose inflammation using blood tests. They can also diagnose you with a disease that often accompanies chronic inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, or another autoimmune problem.


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