Inflammation, of any sort, begins once the immune system is alerted to any sort of danger or damage to our bodies. Acute, short-term inflammation is a form of oxidative stress and our best defense against any outside invasion.
Acute inflammation does inflict damage to our tissues as part of the job, which is precisely why, by design, inflammation is only ever supposed to be acute: a short-term assault on the body and minor sacrifice so that the body can ultimately repair itself and return to normalcy.
When inflammation’s fire continues to smolder, though, over a long period of time this long-lasting, silent burn ushers in any number of chronic degenerative conditions. What’s more, chronic inflammation lies below the threshold of perception; unlike short-term inflammation, we don’t experience the typically painful and pronounced symptoms.
By the time a health issue has advanced enough to be diagnosed as a condition, there is a very high probability that chronic inflammation has been raging quietly inside for quite some time (many, many years) done severe bodily damage. Usually, there is a slow build-up of symptoms (often, the same cluster that corresponds to metabolic dysfunction) that results in this disease state.
This silent, quietly problematic form of inflammation is a dangerous place to be. But is there any hope of getting out of it if we don’t even know we’re in it?
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is certainly elusive. There are no red flags like the painful burning and throbbing that come with acute inflammation, which is precisely why so many people suffer with chronic inflammation for years without even knowing it.
But there are ways of detecting chronic inflammation. Some symptoms include:
- Body aches, pains, arthralgia, myalgia
- Chronic fatigue and insomnia or “brain fog”
- Depression, anxiety and mood disorders
- Gastrointestinal complications like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Frequent infections
- Puffy face or bags under eyes
- Skin problems, such as psoriasis or eczema
Steps to Reduce Chronic Inflammation
It’s easier to reduce chronic inflammation than it is to catch it. What’s more, it’s better to simply get ahead of it in the first place by taking preventative steps. And these steps require no pill, no doctor visits, and no money. By adjusting certain lifestyle habits, you can reduce -- even prevent -- the low-grade inflammation inside you.
First, it’s important to understand how we got to this inflamed state. Chronic inflammation is caused by:
- An inflammatory diet, one filled with sugar, carbohydrates, and processed foods
- Food allergens and intolerances, some that may be completely hidden or unknown
- Damage to the gut microbiome due to diet and/or antibiotics
- Hidden, chronic infection
- Lack of sleep
Food, sleep, and stress play perhaps the most vital roles. And once you know about these root causes, it can be quite simple to prevent or reduce inflammation.
Step 1 -- Eliminate:
Lack of sleep
Step 2 -- Include:
Real, whole, 1-ingredient foods
Anti-inflammatory foods (turmeric, ginger, capsaicin)
Anti-inflammatory supplements (Magnesium, Vitamin D3, and Omega-3 fats)
Mindful, meditative moments
It seems quite simple. But in our current world, implementing these changes can be almost impossible. It’s important to lean on others to find support and education as you navigate your way through these lifestyle changes.
By taking these steps, you can optimize your health for your current and future self.