Inflammation is an immune response in the body. We need it in small amounts to heal, as it helps to heal wounds, fend off bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. But if inflammation is running wild and for a long period of time, it can really cause damage to the body, leading to inflammation-related health issues, including autoimmune diseases.
The challenge is that inflammation can start slowly brewing in the body without us noticing it for a while until we start to develop symptoms and will actually be diagnosed by our doctor.
I have covered inflammation in one of my previous posts, how to diagnose it, what causes inflammation in the body, what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. Below I want to highlight how inflammation can affect different parts of our bodies and how it's the root cause of many health conditions. I also highlight how you might feel when you are developing inflammation and what are the things you can do to lower inflammation in the body.
Cardiovascular (heart, arteries, veins)
When you have inflammation in your heart, arteries or veins, it can contribute to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, anemia.
Inflammation in the lungs can result in allergies and asthma.
Inflammation in the brain can lead to poor memory, depression, Alzheimer's, autism, multiple sclerosis.
Inflammation in the liver leads to an enlarged liver or fatty liver disease, which also causes an increased toxic load in your body.
Inflammation restricts blood flow to the kidneys, which can result into kidney failure, hypertension, edema, nephritis
Inflammation damages the gut lining, leading to leaky gut, GERD, celiac disease, Chrohn's disease
Inflammation disrupts thyroid hormone function and reduces thyroid receptor count, leading to hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's.
Inflammation increases the bone fractures and leads to conditions like osteoporosis
Chronic inflammation affects both our liver and kidneys, which result in skin issues like eczema, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea, dermatitis, wrinkles and fine lines. Learn more about how you can support your skin healing from here.
How do you know you have inflammation in the body?
We all have experienced acute inflammation in our bodies, if we have fallen, hit our body part against something, have burnt ourselves with heat, steam etc. We experience pain, redness, swelling in the area. But with chronic inflammation, we could experience any of the below and for a longer period of time:
Fatigue- chronic inflammation messes with our hormones, specifically with cortisol and other stress hormones. It can result in constantly feeling tired, having muscle weakness, trouble falling asleep, low blood pressure.
Pain- inflammation created pain in our bodies to indicate to us that there is a problem that we need to address. If you are experiencing joint pain and stiffness, that's one of the signs that inflammation in your body is high.
Depression and anxiety- inflammation creates an inflammatory-autoimmune response against your brain and nervous system. This can result into brain-fog, concentration issues, attention issues.
How can you decrease inflammation in the body?
1. Find foods that work for you and foods that don't work for you.
Food is a major contributor to inflammation. It's important to avoid the most common inflammatory foods like sugar, gluten, processed oils. But as we are all different, foods that could be healthy for me, could be causing inflammation in your body (eggs, nuts, nightshades etc). A good way to understand how foods trigger the negative reactions in the body, is to try an elimination diet for 3 weeks, introduce foods one by one back into your diet and notice how your body reacts.
2. Focus on good quality sleep
Read from my blog post about the importance of sleep and what can you do to improve it.
3. Practice deep breath and meditation
Both of these put your body in a rest and digest mode, allowing your body to heal itself by itself. Learn more about deep breathing exercises here.
4. Reduce stress
When our body is constantly in a fight or flight mode, our bodily organs are in overdrive. We don't sleep well, we don't digest our food well. Learn ways you can reduce stress from my blog how stress affects our bodies.
5. Incorporate different types of exercise
Though vigorous exercise can actually trigger inflammation in the short-term, it helps to reduce it in the long-term. Choose different exercises to keep your heart racing, your muscles and joints flexible (cycling, swimming, walking, roller-blading, badminton, yoga, golf, pilates etc).
If you need support and guidance how to reduce inflammation in your body and live a life more in balance, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org