The Five Main Symptoms of Body Inflammation
Inflammation is your body's natural response to any potential threat to the overall health of the system, be it an injury or infection.
In small doses it is a vital process that is key to human survival. However, prolonged exposure to inflammation has been linked to just about every chronic, degenerative disease known to man, including but not limited to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer.
In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most common signs of chronic inflammation, so that you are able to identify them and take steps to bring your body back to it’s natural, healthy state.
Why Does Chronic Inflammation Occur?
Chronic inflammation can occur for a number of reasons, including:
1. An underlying condition
Although it is thought that inflammation is the trigger for many degenerative diseases, underlying autoimmune issues such as IBD, diabetes and arthritis can also be a contributing factor towards inflammation. It can be a vicious cycle where each issues feeds the other.
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Common food allergens such as wheat, dairy, eggs, soy and nuts can trigger an inflammatory response in the gut some people. Excess consumption of sugary foods and saturated fats can also be an issue, leading to an increase in advanced glycation end products and subsequent inflammation.
3. Exposure to toxins
Over exposure to environmental pollutants, air fresheners, and other unnatural compounds can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction. This can increase the body’s free radical production, damaging cells and DNA and leading to an inflammatory response.
4. Chronic stress
Our built in stress response is great at helping us deal with acute stressful events such as an attacking wild animal, but it proves faulty when we are exposed to the vast number of modern day chronic stressors, such as busy traffic and constant deadlines to meet. Research has shown that stress can actually alter immune cell genes, leading to inflammation.
5. Lack of sleep
Sleep is an important part of the inflammation picture. Without sleep, the body i unable to repair itself, which leaves it in an inflammatory state. As explained over at Health Immunity:
“Inflammatory cytokines are secreted at a higher rate by those who have insomnia, compared to those who do not. During sleep, the body regenerates and the immune system calms down. Lack of restorative sleep is a major promoter of inflammation”.
If sleep is an issue for you, be sure to check out our article on how to fall asleep fast, and implement those ideas into your daily routine.
After a hard training session such as a fast run or an intense strength workout, the body enters a temporary inflammatory state as a part of the recovery process. When training is too intense or too frequent, or if resting protocols are inadequate, the inflammation process does not get the chance to shut off properly, and your boy remains in a constant inflammatory state.
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation?
Recommended Reading: The Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Drinks
Now that we know about some of the reasons why we might suffer from chronic inflammation, let’s now take a look at some of the most common symptoms. This will help you identify any inflammation in your own body, so you can take the necessary course of action to mitigate it.
1. Joint pain
Joint pain from inflammation commonly occurs in the lower back, hips and knees. It may be accompanied by redness or swelling, but is not always.
Joint issues associated with inflammation can range from a few occasional mild aches, to full blown arthritis and intense pain. Ensure you consult a medical professional if you experience joint pain, and take steps to eliminate it.
2. Flu like symptoms
Chronic inflammation often triggers flu like symptoms such as a sore throat, headache, head cold and general aches and pains.
As well as affecting the joints, inflammation can have an impact on the central nervous system, which can also lead to symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, brain fog and irritability.
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3. Digestive issues
Intense abdominal pain, diarrhea, undigested food and blood or mucous in the stools may be a sign of and Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s disease or Colitis.
If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Although not all depression is linked with inflammation, it can be a sign in some cases. As explained over at Prevention:
"If you look at patients with heart disease who are depressed, you see they have higher markers of inflammation than heart disease patients who aren't depressed".
The exact mechanism behind depression and inflammation is not fully understood, but may be related to the impact on the nervous system, as mentioned above.
5. Elevated blood markers
Many of the issues mentioned above are not exclusive to chronic inflammation, meaning it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is wrong just by observing symptoms. That’s where blood testing can come in handy.
As outlined over at Patient, there are three main blood markers that doctors will test for when looking at inflammation:
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) - Measures the rate at which red blood cells separate from blood plasma and fall to the bottom of a test tube. A high ESR indicates that you have some inflammation, somewhere in the body.
- C-reactive protein (CRP) - Sometimes called an acute phase protein, the level of CRP increases when you have certain diseases which cause inflammation.
- Plasma viscosity (PV) - Another marker of inflammation, although it is more difficult to perform and is not as widely used as ESR testing.
If you suspect that chronic inflammation may be an issue, then ensure you consult a medical professional and request the appropriate testing.
You can then begin to take steps to bring your inflammation back to normal levels.