Inflammation – The Good, the Bad, and the Very Bad
- Posted on: Oct 12 2021
What is a Balanced Body?
When most people think of creating balance in their lives, they don’t think about the need to have their body systems working together in harmony. Most of the time when we think of balance, we think of work to family balance or making sure we carve out enough “me time.” While this is important, a balanced body is fundamental in meeting our physical and emotional needs as well.
One of the principal components of a balanced body is the need to keep in check our body’s inflammatory response to illness and injury. Inflammation’s purpose in the body is to help us heal. Its main task is to alert the body that something is wrong and promote healing by arousing the immune system. This bodily alarm system’s primary function is to determine if there needs to be an immune response, a healing response, or a combination of the two.
In a healthy body, the inflammatory response sends help to the injured area or virus invader. When there is too large an inflammatory response, meaning the reaction is prolonged or there is an overproduction of inflammation, the body becomes imbalanced. What was designed to help us then becomes destructive and damaging. Inflammation, if unchecked, has been shown to lead to various health concerns ranging from weight gain to diabetes to heart attack to cancer.
When Inflammation Goes Wrong
Some of the signs there is inflammation in the body include redness, swelling, heat to the touch at the affected area, pain, and possibly loss of function. When in check, an inflammatory response is necessary and life-sustaining as it assists in the process of regenerating tissue. However, too much of a good thing can become a very bad thing.
There are times the body will work overtime to protect and heal itself and begin what physicians refer to as a “cytokine storm.” Normally, cytokines are made and distributed to where the body needs them in an organized and appropriate fashion. Yet, when the body is impacted by various health concerns, imbalances occur. In this case of inflammation, the response can become systemic and potentially deadly.
Chronic inflammation is considered a “feed-forward cycle,” according to stem cell scientist Dr. Ben Van Handel, meaning it keeps going. In the case of obesity, VanHandel explains the body’s adipose tissue produces increased amounts of inflammatory proteins. When the fat cells in the tissues detect the extra inflammatory proteins, they too then make more. This cycle continues, resulting in a chronic inflammatory problem.
There is evidence that there can even be an increased inflammatory response when there is no illness or infection in the body. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease are categorized by their overactive immune systems. While medical professionals aren’t sure what causes autoimmune illnesses, they agree these diseases can result in inflammation that can cause irreversible damage to organs, joints, and muscles.
Nicknamed “inflammaging,” the production of inflammation that occurs as we age, coincides with a decline in the protective inflammation response, thus triggering a heightened negative inflammatory response. As we age and there are injuries or infections, we enter that “feed-forward cycle” mentioned earlier and will have difficulty turning off the inflammatory response.
How to Create an Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle
It is important to note that once there is a history of high inflammation levels, we don’t automatically revert to baseline when the threat or injury is removed. Instead, we remain susceptible to higher levels of inflammation. Yet, medical professionals agree there are some changes in the way we live that can help us manage or reduce the amount of harmful inflammation.
More and more has been proven regarding the healing powers of food. When it comes to inflammation, it is best to reduce the consumption of soda, processed foods, red meat, fried foods, foods with refined sugars, and trans fats that are common in fast food and margarine. While not specific to diet, it is suggested that those with high inflammation readings drink alcohol only in moderation and curb all tobacco habits.
In addition to eliminating harmful habits, proper anti-inflammatory dietary practices include indulging in antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, apples, broccoli, cabbage, and whole grains. Other anti-inflammatory foods such as those high in vitamin D and Omega-3’s such as salmon and other fatty fish, magnesium-rich foods like walnuts and almonds, and turmeric have been shown to improve inflammatory levels.
Chronic stress releases a hormone called cortisol that over time increases the inflammatory response in the body. It is not always possible to control the different situations in our lives, but we can control how we respond to them. Incorporating practices such as meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, stretching/yoga, and life coaching or therapy can help increase the ability to handle stressful situations in a healthy manner.
Physical activity, namely exercise, has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep hygiene, and help with weight reduction, all attributed as curtailing inflammation. Exercising around 150 minutes per week can help lower the pro-inflammatory molecules and cytokines regardless of losing weight or not.
Seek Medical Help
One of the best ways to prevent any damage caused by chronic inflammation is to stay on top of your medical appointments. Not only could your doctor help detect any signs of inflammation concerns, but she or he can also suggest any changes you could make for a healthier future.
Call Desert Oasis Clinic Today
Those dealing with chronic inflammation may benefit from Desert Oasis Clinic’s services such as: biopuncture, Kinesio taping, nutritional assessment, and Trigger Point (TP) Injections. Please consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Thompson to discuss the best course of treatment for you. Desert Oasis Clinic can help you maintain your health using the latest natural and holistic treatments. Please call now at 702-310-9350 to speak to our friendly staff and schedule an appointment.
Posted in: Treatments