fbpixel

Inflammation Causes, Symptoms, Natural Treatments

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Table of Contents

What is inflammation?

Inflammation
is the natural process of your body to fight against anything that harms it,
including injuries, infections, and toxins. Inflammation is an indication that
the body is attempting to heal itself. Inflammation is a sign that your body is
protecting itself & trying to remove harmful stimuli to begin the healing
process. Inflammation has an important role in the body’s immune response.

 When there is something that causes damage to your cells,
the body releases chemicals that trigger an immune response. This response
includes the release of specific proteins and antibodies and also increases the
blood flow to the affected area. The entire process takes around a couple of
hours to a few days in the case of acute inflammation. 

What is Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic
inflammation is what happens when this process takes a longer time, thus
leaving your body in a continued state of alert. Over a period of time, chronic
inflammation can harm your organs and tissues. 

The
reason why inflammation is so crucial is that it’s been proven to be a
participant in nearly every chronic disease, which affects approximately 133
million people in the
US alone.

Research done by the Sapienza Università di Roma in Italy
in 2011 found that chronic inflammation has a role to play in a variety of
chronic conditions – from asthma to cancer.[1]

What causes chronic inflammation?

White blood cells that creep into the walls of the
arteries are important contributors to cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is
caused by a number of physical reactions triggered by the immune system in
reaction to a physical injury or a disease.

Three major processes occur before and during acute inflammation. First,
the little branches of arteries expand when providing blood to the damaged
area, leading to increased blood circulation. Then, the capillaries become
simpler for proteins and fluids to infiltrate, meaning that they can move
between cells and blood. Finally, the body releases neutrophils (white blood
cells full of little sacs that contain enzymes to digest microorganisms).

The issue with inflammation is that over time, you may wind up with too
much of a good thing. With chronic inflammation, your body is on high alert all
the time. The protracted state of emergency may cause lasting damage to your
heart, brain, and other organs. When inflammatory cells stay for a long time in
blood vessels, they encourage the buildup of harmful plaque. The body sees this plaque as an
invader and sends more of its first soldiers. Since the plaque continues to
build, the arteries can thicken, which makes a heart attack or stroke far more
likely. 

Signs & symptoms of chronic inflammation

1.
You are always tired

Inflammation in the body can be caused either by too
little sleep.[2] If you are not getting the recommended eight hours of
sleep every night, then there is a chance that you have inflammation in
the body, making you feel tired all the time. 

Too much sleep throws off the body’s inflammatory
responses.[3] Due to this, the body’s cells start responding with an
inappropriate amount of inflammation. One can almost say that your body treats
inadequate sleep or too much sleep as if it is an illness. Therefore, the body
believes that you are sick, and it needs to react accordingly. 

As we all know, fatigue is the biggest symptom you
experience when you are getting inadequate sleep. Fatigue is one of the biggest
signs of chronic inflammation in the body. So if you find yourself constantly
feeling exhausted, even after getting the necessary amount of sleep, then you
should think about seeing a doctor. It is necessary to figure out why you are
so tired, and if the underlying cause is because of not getting enough sleep,
then your doctor will advise you on steps to take to correct your sleeping
cycle.

 

2. Aches and pains throughout the body

If you have recurring aches and pains, then it might be a
sign that you are suffering from chronic inflammation. Experiencing pain
regularly is another huge indicator of inflammation. 

If you are not in pain, but experience pain at the end of
doing some activity, such as touching your toes or rotating your shoulders,
then that is also associated with chronic inflammation. Some people may
experience both fatigue and pain that comes and goes without being able to
accurately pinpoint why they are experiencing these symptoms.[4]

Pain can also be a sign that you have some type of
arthritis, which is, again, a significant contributor to inflammation in the
body. This is why it is so crucial that you bring it up in front of your doctor
because you should not be having to deal with pain without any known reason.[5]

 

3. Digestive Issues

While everyone experiences a bout of diarrhea or fullness
now and then, ongoing digestive symptoms can be a sign of chronic inflammation,
especially pointing to inflammation in the gut. 

Inflammation in the gut can lead to diarrhea, feeling the
need to urgently have a bowel movement, abdominal cramping, and even bloating
while these symptoms can also be due to a food allergy or a medical condition
such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or even any other
chronic inflammation-causing condition in the gut. 

If you notice that you are experiencing ongoing digestive
issues, then it is imperative to let your doctor know about the same. Digestive
issues always take some time to get diagnosed as the symptoms of these are
similar across many conditions.

 

4. Having a Stuffy nose or Nasal Congestion

When you have chronic inflammation in the body, your body
will react in a variety of ways to let you know that something is wrong
somewhere. These reactions can be different for everyone, but one of the common
ways that the body tries to communicate that something is wrong to include
inflamed nasal cavities and watery eyes.[6 ]

You may feel like you have a stuffy nose due to seasonal
allergies and watery eyes from the pressure in the nasal cavity or behind the
eyes, but this is also a sign that you are suffering from chronic inflammation. 

In some people, high levels of stress and lack of sleep
can also cause inflammation in the body, leading to a stuffy nose. Having a
stuffy nose does not only indicate that you have allergies or that you may be
down with the common cold. It can also be a sign that there is inflammation
present in the body.

 

5. You are plagued by headaches

In people with migraine and chronic headaches, it might
be possible that they suffer from what is known as neurogenic inflammation.[7] People who are having a recent onset of headaches or migraines, or have noticed
a change in their previous pattern of headaches or migraines, should undergo a
complete neurological examination to rule out any underlying medical condition.[8]

Do keep in mind that there are many environmental
triggers as well that can lead to headaches and migraines. So make sure to rule
these factors out before you suspect inflammation as being the underlying cause
of your headaches. 
 

Chronic inflammation vs acute inflammation

Acute inflammation is a healthy response that functions
to protect and repair the body from something harmful, whether that be a
disease in a reduction or a strained muscle. Proof of acute inflammation can be
viewed in scabbing, redness, pus, and swelling. You will notice pain, redness,
swelling, and warmth in the region. But once all of the cells in the
inflammatory response have done their job and the injury is healed, that
inflammation disappears. That’s the sort of inflammation you wish to happen.

Chronic
inflammation, on the other hand, is not part of the body’s natural recovery
process and is the problematic one. It can happen if the immune system is
attempting to fend off an illness, but is not having success. Chronic
inflammation is a condition where dilated blood vessels and a hyped-up immune
system become the new standard. The human body is not designed to deal with
this unfocused immune activity, and chronic inflammation will lead to organ
damage. White blood cells usually protect the body from illness, but the
unchecked white cell activity of chronic inflammation may make you more prone
to non-infectious conditions like cancer.

Conditions like asthma, allergies, arthritis, and
autoimmune disorders have a clear inflammatory component, but studies imply
that chronic inflammation may also be at the origin of other diseases. Chronic
inflammation is believed to play a role in cardiovascular disease, diabetes,
cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and the visible signs of aging.

Scientists aren’t certain how chronic inflammation
affects our health, but higher inflammation markers are a risk factor for the
majority of the common diseases of aging. Our lifestyle and diet can make our
own body over-produce inflammatory compounds. Knowing the causes and weapons
against chronic inflammation can encourage us to correct our lifestyles for
improved health.

 

Tests that may help identify inflammation

White blood cell count, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
(ESR), and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) blood tests are
commonly used to detect an increase in protein in the blood. In this way, they
are used as biomarkers of inflammation.
 

White blood cell count: A high white blood cell count is
a sign that the immune system is activated and working to fend off a disease or
injury. Chronically elevated white blood cells indicate the immune system is
frequently in overdrive.

Sedimentation rate (ESR): Your sedimentation rate or ESR
is a measure of how fast your red blood cells settle in a blood sample. Since
red blood cells typically settle gradually, the fast speed of settling may
indicate inflammation in the body.

High sensitivity c-reactive protein (hs-CRP): hs-CRP is a
protein that’s created in response to inflammation in the body. Individuals with
greater hs-CRP values not only are inflamed but also have the maximum risk of
cardiovascular disease and people with lower values have significantly less
risk.

Taken together, they provide a fairly good idea as to
whether inflammation is a problem, and doctors could also use them to monitor
whether the inflammation is worsening or improving.

 

Natural remedies for chronic inflammation

The way
to cure chronic inflammation

 

Some
recommended strategies for fixing chronic inflammation are in adopting diet & lifestyle
behavior modifications:

– Load up on anti-inflammatory foods as your food choices
are just as important as the supplements and medications you might be taking
for general health – they can protect against inflammation. Having more fruits,
vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids will be a good start. Some
of the greatest sources of omega-3s are cold-water fish, such as salmon and
tuna, and tofu, walnuts, flax seeds, and seeds. Other anti-inflammatory foods
include grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, olive oil, tea and a few spices
(ginger, rosemary, and garlic). The Mediterranean diet is a good example of an
anti-inflammatory diet.

– Avoid foods that you’re sensitive to. This is something
we regularly check for or figure out with an elimination diet. 
Eliminate the foods which are known to cause inflammation, like sugar, dairy, and simple carbohydrates.

– Exercise. Regular exercise of moderate intensity enhances
immune function and reduces inflammation. (Even occasional exercise has
advantages, but high-intensity exercise may have a detrimental effect on the
immune system.)

– Minimize stress and optimize how you react to it.

– Supplements like probiotics, turmeric, resveratrol, and
fish oil are known to help fight inflammation.

Take note if you have symptoms that look consistent with
inflammation, try to find it with blood tests and the advice of a doctor, and
do your best to embrace an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.
 

Summary

Chronic
inflammation dramatically increases your risk of developing other serious
diseases. Your doctor can diagnose inflammation with the help of some simple
blood tests. Eating an anti-inflammation diet, taking medications and
supplements, and leading a healthy lifestyle can help lower the risk of
inflammation. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking and maintain a healthy body
weight will also help reduce the risk of inflammation and also work towards
lowering your stress levels. Remember that high levels of chronic stress can
also lead to chronic inflammation.