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  • Writer's pictureHeather

How Much Should We ACTUALLY Be Concerned With Inflammation

When our body encounters an offending agent (like viruses, bacteria or toxic chemicals) or suffers an injury, it activates our immune system. Our immune system sends out its first responders: inflammatory cells and specific cytokines (substances that stimulate more inflammatory cells).

These cells begin an inflammatory response to trap bacteria and other offending agents or start healing injured tissue. The result can be pain, swelling, bruising or redness.

There are two types of inflammation:

  • Acute inflammation - the response to sudden body damage, such as cutting our finger. To heal the cut, our body sends inflammatory cells to the injury. These cells start the healing process. Typically, this initial healing process will cause fluid to accumulate around the injured area and result in swelling and discomfort. This process is readily seen when we twist an ankle or knee. We have pain and swelling as the inflammation process starts helping us heal. Acute inflammation, and the swelling it causes, is also a way the body works to stabilize the injured area.

  • Chronic inflammation our body continues sending inflammatory cells even when there is no outside danger. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis inflammatory cells and substances attack joint tissues leading to an inflammation that comes and goes and can cause severe damage to joints with pain and deformities.

Symptoms of acute inflammation are flushed skin at the site of the injury, pain or tenderness, swelling, and heat.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation can be more difficult to spot and may include abdominal pain, chest pain, unexplained fatigue, fever, skin rash, and joint pain.

In health terms, acute inflammation is normally considered a positive sign of healing. Chronic inflammation is not positive and can be very detrimental to our health. For this reason, chronic inflammation and the symptoms associated with it, should be taken very seriously and be of great concern.

Fortunately, there are many things we can do to control, and even reverse, chronic inflammation. Here are six steps we can all take to fight chronic inflammation:

  • Make time to exercise - make time for 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise and 10 to 25 minutes of weight or resistance training at least four to five times per week.

  • Manage stress - chronic stress contributes to inflammation. Use meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and just plain relaxation to manage stress throughout the day.

  • Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods - inflammatory foods include red meat and anything with trans fats, such as margarine, corn oil, deep fried foods and most processed foods.

  • Control blood sugar - limit or avoid simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar and anything with high fructose corn syrup. Of course, this also includes candies, ice cream and the biggest sugary poison, soft drinks.

  • Eat a variety of anti-inflammatory foods - our food choices are just as important as the medications and supplements we may be taking for overall health. Load up on fruits and vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are cold water fish, such as salmon and tuna, and tofu, walnuts, flax seeds and soybeans.

Inflammation should definitely have our attention. It is a huge accelerator in the aging process if we do not keep it under control. Follow the steps above and we can have a great effect on reducing the most damaging inflammation.


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