Inflammation is the body’s biological reaction and a necessary response of the immune system to damaging stimuli such as an infection or trauma. The body’s natural defences against injury or infection are a vital part of the immune system. However, persistent and chronic inflammation poses a risk to developing several chronic diseases.
Acute Inflammation is the body's response to sudden damage or infection. The natural reaction will be to send immune cells to the affected area to start the healing process. Once there is no danger the inflammation process stops.
Chronic Inflammation is when the body starts to or continues to send inflammation to an area of the body even when there is no damage or danger. Because the signs are more difficult to spot, many people don’t identify that they have chronic inflammation until they are diagnosed with a serious illness. The prolonged inflammatory state is detrimental for the body and predisposes to a number of health conditions and chronic diseases.
Common symptoms and causes of Chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation can be both a symptom of an illness or it can be the cause of one. There are many ways chronic inflammation can be developed, some lifestyle factors include:
— Untreated injuries or illnesses
— Exposure to chemicals, pollutants and other environmental toxins
— Eating a diet high in processed sugars and unhealthy fats
— Drinking an excess of alcohol
— Living a sedentary lifestyle
— Living with chronic stress or social isolation
— Irregular sleep patterns
Unlike the symptoms of acute inflammation like swelling, fever, bruising or redness when we are sick or have an injury, the signs of chronic inflammation can start subtle and increase over time, ranging from anything such as abdominal pain, bloating, chest pain, fatigue, fever, joint pain and stiffness, an increase in anxiety or depression, skin rashes or mouth sores. Conditions that are associated with having chronic inflammation include:
— Alzheimer’s Disease
— Heart Disease
— Rheumatoid Arthritis
— Type 2 Diabetes
— Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Exercise as a form of prevention and treatment for Chronic Inflammation
Exercise, among other lifestyle behavioural interventions, can have significant benefits for improving inflammation over the long term. Exercises like yoga, swimming and resistance training are great ways to reduce inflammation in the body and manage a healthy weight. Incorporating at least 20 minutes of physical activity per day can help support the immune system and have an anti-inflammatory response on cells. Diet, physical activity, stress reduction techniques and living a connected and full life is ultimately the best way to treat chronic inflammation at its core and aim to reduce the likelihood of developing conditions like arthritis, diabetes or Alzheimer’s.
What you can do next
If you would like some extra help in getting started, or want to understand more about how chronic inflammation is affecting you, get in touch with us to get an assessment and support from a professional.