Most of us will be most familiar with inflammation in the form of a sore throat, runny nose, or scraped knee. These are examples of acute inflammation, a healthy sign of the body’s attempt at self protection and the beginning of the healing process. Chronic inflammation, however, is a very different story. In Latin, “inflammatio” means, “I set alight, I ignite.” This who suffer from chronic inflammation will testify that this derivation is very appropriate. Chronic inflammation has been described as ” a fire that never goes out.”
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation means long term inflammation which can last from several months to several years. It occurs when the body fails to eliminate whatever was causing the inflammation in the first place or when the immune system mistakes healthy tissue for harmful pathogens. The result is a constant activation of the immune system that results in the release of damaging chemicals in your body. Examples of chronic inflammation include asthma, peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic periodontitis, Crohn’s disease and chronic hepatitis.
How Can You Tell if You Have Chronic Inflammation?
- You have a spare tire around your waist
- You have high blood glucose level
- You have digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, bloating and constipation
- You’re tired all the time
- You have eczema or psoriasis or your skin is red and blotchy
- You have allergies
- Your face is puffy
- You have gum disease
- You’re depressed, anxious or have brain fog
- You have erectile dysfunction
What Can You Do About It?
- See a doctor. A doctor will be able to diagnose the problem properly and prescribe appropriate medicine and let you know about any precautions you should take.
- Diet, diet, diet: It always comes down to eating right. Eat foods that are typical of the Mediterranean diet; cold water fish, fresh fruits, cruciferous veggies, small servings of nuts, very little red meat, and moderate glasses of red wine. FYI: Avocados are loaded with compounds that reduce inflammation. A 2013 study shows that people who ate a hamburger with avocado had lower CRP levels four hours after eating than those who did not.
- Anti-Inflammatory drugs: Over the counter drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen can be used to treat swelling and more chronic conditions like arthritis and back pain. In prescription strength, they are known as NSAIDS which block cycloosygense, the agent that causes swelling. Corticosteroids can be used to treat asthma.
- Supplements: Although they may sound like something the three witches in Macbeth might have added to their pot, or the next trend in celebrity baby naming the following have all been associated with anti-inflammation: Cat’s claw, devil’s claw, turmeric, mangosteen, frankincense, and willow bark.