The prevalence of chronic inflammation is on the rise in Australia. Chronic musculoskeletal conditions, autoimmune disease and gastrointestinal disorders are all common reasons why the body’s inflammatory markers may rise, but there are many more. Inflammation often results in pain, reduced mobility and a lack of vitality, but any system of the body can be affected by chronic or acute inflammation and symptoms can vary greatly.
Recently a raft of studies has highlighted the role that chronic inflammation plays in the onset of many serious and chronic diseases.
This is especially true in the cardiovascular system, where new research into the mechanics of cancer has also pointed to inflammation playing a role in irregular cellular changes.
So, What are the signs of chronic inflammation?
There are many indications that inflammation may be impacting your life apart from the usual joint stiffness & muscular pain. Many common benign conditions are linked with chronic inflammation:
- Allergies such as chronic sinus congestion, eczema and psoriasis through the release of IgE antibodies that are linked to the dysregulation of immune cells.
- Depression, stress & mood changes – seen through the release of markers in the brain called pro-inflammatory cytokines.
- Digestive disturbances such as parasitic and bacterial imbalances, leaky-gut syndrome, IBS and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflammation results from the hyper-activation of the immune system and destruction of tissue in the gastrointestinal track.
What else will inflammation feel like?
Chronic or acute inflammation can present in many different ways:
- Localised or systemic pain and swelling
- Food intolerances and chemical sensitivities
- Digestive changes including diarrhoea or constipation
- Acne, poor wound healing and other skin infections
- Recurrent colds and lingering infections
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
Other indicators you might be suffering from ongoing chronic inflammation include
- High cholesterol and cardiovascular disease
- Hormonal issues such as endometriosis and prostate conditions
- Blood tests showing increased inflammatory markers
Considering all we know about inflammation and its harmful effects we all want to know what we can do to help our bodies process inflammation quickly and efficiently, right?
Follow these few simple tips to maximize your body’s chances of dealing with inflammation quickly and naturally.
Remember, this information is general in nature and if you have any ongoing concerns you should consult with a health professional.
What can you do about it?
Steps to Reduce inflammation with Nutrition:
- Check your nutritional status. A few simple blood tests can highlight nutritional deficiencies, such as low vitamin D or iron. Correcting these with help from a naturopath will get your levels back in balance.
- Eat your inflammation away: A balanced wholefood diet with an abundance of antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables, plenty of healthy fats and reduced added salts, sugars and processed vegetable oils can eliminate many symptoms of inflammation.
- Add Omega-3s: Research is proving again and again that fish oils down-regulate inflammation pathways in the body. Ensure you buy good quality fish oils to avoid heavy metal contamination and always buy sustainable seafood.
- Supportive herbal medicine: Herbs such as turmeric, ginger, chamomile and licorice are all wonderful anti-inflammatory herbs you can use daily in food or teas. A herbalist will create your own personal formula to target the body systems that need nourishing and repair.
If you think you might be suffering from chronic inflammation or are just interested in acting to prevent the harmful effects of inflammation you can book an appointment with a naturopath to further investigate your individual situation. Naturopaths are ideally placed to deal with these kinds of complex and chronic issues.
Get relaxed. There is good evidence that active meditative strategies like mindfulness meditation can decrease markers of chronic inflammation.
Get active. In addition to its myriad other benefits, exercise can ward off the harmful effects of ongoing inflammation.