Reducing Chronic Inflammation in the Body
Inflammation can be your friend or your foe—if you stub your toe or cut your thumb, your immune system goes into overdrive, rushing hormones and nutrients to the site, along with white blood cells to combat germs. The area becomes warm, sensitive to the touch, and perhaps even painful. It grows red and swollen, and pus may accumulate.
This is inflammation―or more precisely, acute inflammation. It may look alarming, but it’s all part of the healing process orchestrated by your immune system. You need the hormones and nutrients for repair. And that pus? That’s just the accumulation of white blood cells that have died after devouring threatening infectious microorganisms. Pus is how your body cleanses the area and gets rid of the waste.
You get acute inflammation with an injury or other short-term condition such as a sore throat or a sprained ankle that will subside within a short period of time. This kind of inflammation, which is necessary for healing, is your friend.
On the other hand, chronic (or persistent) inflammation can occur with long-term conditions such as arthritis and autoimmune diseases. It can also occur as the result of lifestyle factors―poor diet and resulting weight gain, stress, smoking, exposure to pollution, and poor dental health, for example. Although chronic inflammation may have the benefit of signaling that there’s a health problem, the message it’s sending isn’t good.
How Is Chronic Inflammation Connected With Disease?
With chronic inflammation, white blood cells scurry to deal with a perceived threat, but it may be a false alarm. If no inflammatory response is needed, they may end up hanging around and attacking internal organs, cells, and tissues. Although the threat is real, a low-grade inflammatory response may continue unperceived.
Chronic inflammation contributes to almost all disease, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones), and depression, and it’s important to the diagnosis of disease. Your doctor can detect low-grade inflammation by testing your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a blood marker of inflammation.
Treating Chronic Inflammation
The ill effects of chronic inflammation are numerous, making you more susceptible to degenerative disease and accelerated aging. So what steps can you take to address it and bring your body back into balance?
Stress is one of the most common causes of inflammation, along with poor diet. Practicing stress management techniques, decreasing intake of inflammatory foods (like polyunsaturated vegetable oils, sugar, red meat, and processed foods), and increasing intake of healthy fats, lean proteins, vegetables, and anti-inflammatory foods and supplements (like omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, turmeric, and ginger) are good steps to take to address chronic inflammation.
Inflammation can also be traced to hormonal sources. Hormone levels in both men and women inevitably diminish as they age, often resulting in hormonal imbalance. If not addressed, out-of-balance hormones can eventually lead to chronic inflammation as well as insulin resistance and inefficient immune system function.
Bioidentical hormone therapy is one strategy for keeping the degenerative conditions that threaten your health and your quality of life at bay. A physician within the BodyLogicMD network who is thoroughly trained in detecting and treating hormonal deficiencies can restore your hormones to a harmonious balance, which is essential to keeping your body functioning as it should. Based on your distinctive health profile, a physician within the BodyLogicMD network will also provide guidance on a health-protective, anti-inflammatory diet, as well as recommend natural supplements and other lifestyle changes to help you avoid chronic inflammation and keep you disease-free for years to come.