If you've ever had a cold, a cut on your finger, a rash, or a bruise, then you've experienced inflammation. In urgent situations, inflammation is incredibly useful-similar to emergency personnel being dispatched to an accident. However, if inflammation becomes chronic or our immune system fails to work properly, people can develop a host of diseases that can impact day-to-day existence, including family lives, social lives, and careers.
However, with education and information you can take control of your health and prevent or manage your inflammation.
One of the best ways to reduce inflammation is by eating healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. Nature is filled with foods that contain potent, inflammation -fighting nutrients. When you fill your plate with this soothing fare, you'll begin to calm the angry symptoms that plague you.
The root of many healthy problems
Inflammation is a growing problem worldwide for a variety of reasons, including poor nutrition, toxins in the environment, genetics, widespread medication use, stress, and limited physical activity.
The immune system is intricately involved in the inflammatory process, sending chemical messengers to fix the damage when it occurs. For example, if you cut your finger your immune system swings into action and sends out chemical messengers to destroy bacteria and initiate the healing process.
Acute inflammation is short lived, and essential to survival.
Chronic inflammation (CI) occurs when we are unable to defeat the original injury, the irritant continues to be present in the body, or, as is the case with autoimmune diseases, the body begins to attack healthy tissue.
Inflammation is the root of many diseases and conditions. Health problems linked to inflammation include:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This includes Crohn's Disease and colitis, which occur when the digestive tract becomes inflamed, leading to poor digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Heart Disease. An Umbrella term for numerous conditions that impact the cardiovascular system. Many common heart issues involve damage to the arteries and blood vessels, which can lead to inflammation and reduced blood flow.
Obesity. Excess weight can cause a range of inflammatory conditions, including osteoarthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and gallstones.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body attacks its own tissues, causing inflammation in the joints. Osteoarthritis also involves inflammation, but its cause is wear and tear in the joints over time.
Allergies. Food, drugs, animals, plants, mold, latex, or other toxins can cause the immune system to overreact, leading to a host of uncomfortable symptoms.
Asthma. This inflammatory disease of the lungs involves coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Lupus. This autoimmune disease involves the body attacking its own tissues, leading to inflammation in many different parts of the body.
Hashimoto's Disease. This is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and damages the thyroid, which can lead to swelling of the thyroid (called a goiter), weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, and depression.
Diabetes. This occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or can't effectively use the insulin it creates. Complications from diabetes involve inflammation, such as obesity, atherosclerosis, and foot ulcers.
Cancers. This disease happens when abnormal cells grow, invade different parts of the body, and hijack healthy cells. Once the immune system is activated, inflammation can become widespread. It also works the other way; chronic inflammation can leave the immune system and the body susceptible to cancerous changes.
Celiac Disease. Having this autoimmune disease means the body can't process gluten, leading to damage in the small intestine. Untreated celiac disease can lead to other inflammatory conditions like diabetes and dermatitis herpertiformis, an uncomfortable skin condition.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This autoimmune disease of the nervous system results in the protective coatings on nerve cells - called myelin sheaths - being attacked and damaged. This can cause vision problems, disrupted motor function, dizziness, and muscle weakness.
Skin Diseases. Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis can lead to redness, itchiness, dry skin, skin bumps, and pimples.
Headaches. Tension headaches usually involve a steady, dull pain or pressure, while migraines tend to have a throbbing or pounding quality.
Brain Disorders. Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of <Grain Brain>, links inflammation and the consumption of sugar and carbs to a variety of brain disorders including dementia, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and epilepsy.