Did you know that arthritis and other joint diseases affect approximately 350 million people worldwide? And that’s just a fraction of the people who suffer from other types of inflammation in their daily lives. The statistics are crazy, and a little overwhelming!
If you struggle with chronic inflammation, then you might feel frustrated with not feeling your best most of the time. Not only can it be painful, but it may cause you to give up some of the activities and hobbies that you love most.
If that’s the case, then read on! We’re here to discuss chronic inflammation symptoms, causes, and treatments that you can try to make your life work for you! It’s time to take charge and regain control of your life!
Chronic Inflammation Symptoms
Chronic inflammation is different from acute inflammation in that the symptoms are a little harder to catch. For example, with acute inflammation, you’ll know it’s happening because you’ll notice pain, swelling, and redness around the inflamed site. Not fun! But luckily, this usually only lasts from a few days to several weeks.
On the other hand, you’ll have to pay special attention when it comes to detecting chronic inflammation. You know your body best, so keep a watchful eye out for:
- Sores in the mouth
- Pain in the chest and abdomen
Depending on the individual, these symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can be exacerbated by environmental stressors. As the name suggests, this inflammation is chronic, so these symptoms will likely last for months or years if untreated, altering your lifestyle (and not for the better)!
Types of Chronic Inflammation
There are 2 types of chronic inflammation: non-specific proliferative and granulomatous. That’s a mouthful, now isn’t it? But the differences between them aren’t something you can diagnose as a layperson; your doctor will need to run medical tests to figure out your diagnosis and give you the appropriate recommendations.
Causes of Chronic Inflammation
To understand the causes of chronic inflammation, you should first know how inflammation works in our bodies. When there aren’t any foreign invaders in your body, your immune system functions normally, which is great. That means no inflammation. However, if you have things like bacteria and viruses within your system, your body sends in the calvary (your immune system), aka the knights in shining armor to defend you. Those are your white blood cells.
Your WBCs fight off the invaders by releasing chemicals which also tell your body to send in reinforcement troops. Your body then responds by sending more blood to the affected area, and Viola! Inflammation. This causes swelling, redness, and warmth. So far, this is all a very normal process your body uses.
However, sometimes the signals in your body can get crossed. Autoimmune disorders, (such as rheumatoid arthritis) and other chronic illnesses can cause your body to keep sending white blood cells out for battle, even when there aren’t any invaders for them to attack. Instead, the confused WBCs might even start fighting your own body! That’s why the inflammation lasts for such a long time. You might also see chronic inflammation with:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Some of the conditions above feature chronic inflammation as just one of many symptoms, also including fatigue and pain. Besides them, you might also develop chronic inflammation from:
- Hypersensitivity to a substance (this is how allergies work)
- Long term exposure to irritants (even at low levels)
- Long term stress
- Failure to recover from acute inflammation
Treatments for Chronic Inflammation
Now on to the good stuff! To fight inflammation, you need to take a step back and look at your overall lifestyle. While some parts of your lifestyle won’t be direct factors, they can probably still influence how you’re feeling. If you’re not in tune with your body, you can’t balance your health and wellness and chronic inflammation will be a persistent problem.
Below are some ways you can address your chronic inflammation naturally, without the need for prescription medicine. Be sure to always talk to your doctor about any major changes to your lifestyle first.
Change Your Diet
Obesity raises your risk for many things and chronic inflammation is no exception. Oftentimes, obesity happens as a result of eating lots of foods that are rich in fat and sugar. If you’re not at a healthy weight for your body type, let’s start there.
An anti-inflammatory diet can be a great lifestyle change. Not only will it decrease the number of flare-ups and painful events, but by losing weight you’ll also become healthier and more confident. This type of diet mainly features fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains, beans, nuts, and fish. Additionally, many herbs and spices have antioxidants which are great at fighting inflammation. So, jump right in, and start making your new and improved meal plan!
This is another healthful way to help you lose weight and get into fighting shape. But make sure not to overdo it or injure yourself with your overexuberance. If you don’t often exercise, start slow, and build up your muscles. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 to 5 times a week. Mix it up with both cardio and weight training.
Manage Your Stress Better
As we said, stress can be a significant contributor to chronic inflammation. Your state of mind is just as important as your body’s condition. If you’re constantly stressed out, you can’t take care of yourself as well as you deserve. Deep breaths!
To find ways to better manage your stress, look for fun, relaxing, and soothing outlets that can allow you to release some tension and anxiety. For example, yoga and meditation are great ways to relax your mind and body. Learning some breathing exercises can also be fantastic even if you don’t have enough time for regular classes during your busy days.
Live a Life with as Little Inflammation as Possible
And there you have it! We’ve covered the chronic inflammation symptoms, types, causes, and possible treatments.
While inflammation in the body can come from various sources, what helps most is a simple understanding of your body and how it responds to stressors. If you can change your lifestyle to better address your body’s needs, you can begin your exciting wellness journey down the road to less inflammation and better quality of life.
Want to learn more about the intolerances that may be holding you back, causing chronic inflammation, and hindering your lifestyle?
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