What Is Inflammation?
At some point in your life, you’ve probably had some sort of injury. You’ve either fallen, ending up with a scrape or bruise, or you’ve somehow cut yourself, I’m sure. You’ve also likely had some sort of infectious invader, like a bacteria or virus. And, it’s quite possible you’ve had a foreign body like a splinter or a bee sting.
Each of these assaults on your body triggers a physiological response called inflammation. Acute inflammation, to be precise. Basically, inflammation is a response that your body has to injury or insult. It’s a protective response your body initiates to eliminate the cause of cell injury, remove dead or dying cells and tissues, and begin the process of repair. The acute inflammatory response is normally limited and self controlled – meaning, once the repair process if complete, the inflammation ends.
This is a good thing, right? Well, it is good in the sense that it is necessary to heal.
But there is another kind of inflammation that happens in your body. And it’s not a good thing. This other type of inflammation is chronic, low-grade, and can cause progressive and serious injury to your body’s cells and tissues. Worse still, it can be systemic, meaning it happens all over damaging tissues in multiple organ systems.
We have identified through research that your body has some of this chronic, low-grade inflammation present all the time. But the degree of this inflammation is what makes it worse for you. Meaning the more of this chronic inflammation you have, the more it damages your tissues and organ systems. It can also increase and intensify and cause a number of different problems as you age. Chronic inflammation has been linked to just about every degenerative disease, including:
- Heart disease
- Insulin resistance and Diabetes
- Muscle loss
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
So the next logical question you may have is: What causes chronic inflammation?
We have identified a number of causes of chronic, low-grade inflammation. The good news is, many of them you can eliminate. Here are some of them:
- Suboptimal hormone levels
- Oxidized LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
- Weight gain and obesity
- Many dietary factors
- Lack of exercise or too much exercise
- Stress (mental or prolonged physical)
- Periodontal disease
So How can I prevent low grade inflammation from happening, or at least keep it at bay?
Since many of the causes of chronic inflammation can be linked to your diet, exercise and lifestyle choices, the solutions can be found here as well.
- Learn how and what to eat
- Learn the right type and amount of exercise for your body
- Improved self-care, and decreasing bad habits.
It’s a little bit easier said than done, but with the right information, you can profoundly decrease inflammation and improve not only the way you feel now, but decrease you risk for degeneration and disease down the road.