Inflammation is a word that is used often, yet hard to define. Most of us have a hard time separating inflammation from an ankle sprain vs. inflammation contributing to heart disease and arthritis. In order to understand how to fight it, it’s important to understand how and why it occurs!
Inflammation is a very common and innate response to an injury, pain or stress. It is part of our bodies natural defense system to prevent something worse and/or speed up healing time.
Acute inflammation is the first response to an injury or pathogen. It’s acute because it should only last several days or less.
Examples of what can cause this:
- Illness (virus, bacteria)
- Trauma (punch, kick, sprain)
- Allergic Reaction
There are a lot of players involved in the inflammatory process, but the basics are: heat, redness, swelling, and pain. These four eventually lead to loss of function as a way to prevent future injury. Acute inflammation is an important part of healing. Follow your doctors advice for your particular situation and it should pass within a few days.
More importantly….. Chronic inflammation. Our bodies go haywire when this seemingly harmless acute reaction becomes chronic and systemic.
There are a few things that cause inflammation to be turned “on” at all times.
- Toxic Diet : High sugar, high fat, high-gluten & processed foods
- Low Omega-3 Intake: Omega-3’s are necessary to the anti-inflammatory process (in addition, high Omega-6 intake is as bad as low omega-3)
- Lack of Sleep
- Lack of Movement: Being sedentary is linked to a low-grade inflammatory state.
- Chronic Stress
If any of those listed above are involved in your daily life, it’s time to make some changes. Those are the precursors to numerous lifestyle illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, heart failure and more. Small changes such as improving diet, more movement, decreasing stress and supplementing with the proper fish oils are just a few ways to help prevent chronic inflammation as well as improve and manage those lifestyle illnesses already diagnosed INCLUDING CHRONIC PAIN!
If you think your current symptoms or conditions may be linked to chronic inflammation we recommend a follow up with your functional medicine practitioner to get to the root cause.