Inflammation is a response from our body to external causes such as injury, infection or foreign substances.
The body sends chemicals and immune cells to the affected area to remove the causes of the inflammation and start the healing process.
An acute inflammatory response is characterised by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. Inflammation is a normal and essential process for the body.
However, when it occurs over a prolonged duration, it can lead to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
What is happening inside the body with chronic inflammation
When there is chronic inflammation, the body’s immune system is in a constant state of activation.
This means that the chemicals and immune cells usually released in response to injury or infection are continuously produced, even when no current threat exists. This prolonged immune response can cause damage to healthy cells and tissues, leading to various health problems.
In addition, chronic inflammation can also disrupt the balance of other bodily processes and systems, such as hormone regulation and metabolism. This can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Common causes of chronic inflammation
It’s important to remember that chronic inflammation occurs due to multiple reasons. A mix of genes, the environment, and your lifestyle is responsible for it.
There are several potential causes of it, including but not limited to,
- Long-term exposure to environmental toxins such as pollution and pesticides
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity
- Chronic stress and emotional trauma
- Genetic predisposition, certain genetic variations may increase the risk of developing chronic inflammation.
How acute inflammation is manifested in the body
It is the natural response to injury, infection, or foreign substances. It is a process that helps the body fight off harmful invaders and begin the healing process.
Once the inflammation sets in, the cause that starts the process needs to be removed. So, the body sends chemicals and immune cells to the affected area to fight and begin the healing process.
Several symptoms characterise this response, such as redness, warmth, swelling, and pain in the affected area. The skin may also appear hot to the touch, and there may be increased blood flow to the site, which can cause it to appear red or swollen.
Additionally, one may experience fatigue, joint pain, stiffness, loss of appetite, and fever.
Chronic inflammation and chronic diseases
Chronic inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system is constantly activated, even when no current threat exists. This prolonged immune response can cause damage to healthy cells and tissues, leading to various health problems.
This condition has been linked to several chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For example, chronic inflammation in the blood vessels can lead to plaque build-up, increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Similarly, this chronic process in the pancreas can lead to diabetes. Chronic inflammation in certain organs, such as the colon, can also increase colon cancer risk. So
So, addressing the underlying causes is essential to prevent these chronic diseases’ development.
How to prevent inflammation
There are various ways to minimise it. These measures include a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and quitting smoking. Examples of lifestyle modifications are,
- Eat foods known to have anti-inflammatory properties, such as turmeric, ginger, omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, nuts, and seeds), and antioxidants (found in fruits and vegetables).
- Avoid pro-inflammatory foods: Limit your intake of processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats, as these have been shown to promote it.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep plays a crucial role in refreshing our body, so ensure you get enough restful sleep each night.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce inflammation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress has been linked to increased inflammation, so finding ways to manage and reduce stress is important.
- Don’t smoke, and limit alcohol consumption.
- Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise
The Bottom Line
Inflammation is a natural body response to injury or infection, but when it occurs over a long period, it can lead to various health problems.
The impact of chronic inflammation can be severe, including an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
To reduce this devastating process, you can eat healthy foods, avoid processed foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, manage stress, quit smoking, limit alcohol, and keep a healthy weight.