Inflammation and Its Effects on Health

Inflammation is a natural response of the body’s immune system to injury or an infection. While acute inflammation is a crucial part of the body’s defense mechanism, chronic inflammation can lead to various health issues. Understanding the signs, symptoms, and effects of inflammation is good for maintaining overall well-being.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s protective response to injury or infection. When triggered, the immune system releases chemicals to help combat harmful substances. Acute inflammation is a short-term process that aids in the healing process. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can contribute to various health problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Inflammation

1. Swelling

Swelling is an abnormal enlargement of a part of the body. It happens due to inflammation or build-up of excess fluid. It also shows the body’s response to injury or infection. When a part of the skin is swelling, it often feels painful when touched. 

2. Fatigue

Chronic inflammation can be physically exhausting. This is due to the hormonal imbalance that happens during inflammation. Too much stress hormone or cortisol in the body will leave you feeling exhausted or burned out. Fatigue is a common symptom of inflammation, indicating that the body is using a lot of energy to combat persistent inflammation. 

3. Heat

Increased blood flow to the affected area during inflammation can result in warmth or heat. The persistent heat can cause discomfort in inflamed areas.

4. Hives

Skin reactions, such as hives, can be indicative of inflammation. These reactions may appear as red, itchy welts on the skin. It is a common response to an inflammatory trigger. These triggers include refined carbohydrates, trans fat, alcohol, sugar, and more.

5. Abdominal Pain

Inflammation in the digestive tract may cause abdominal pain. This is due to swelling within the affected internal organs like your stomach, intestine, and more. This also affects how food moves in your digestive tract.

6. Balance Problems

Inflammation impacting the central nervous system can lead to balance problems like coordination and stability. Parts of the central nervous system that can be affected by inflammation are the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Inflammation in these areas is more critical and can be caused by bacterial infection due to a weak immune system.

7. Consistently Swollen Lymph Nodes

Chronic inflammation can lead to the persistent swelling of lymph nodes. Lymph nodes play a vital role in the immune system, but can also swell when fighting off infection from bacteria or viruses.

Inflammation Triggering Foods at a Glance

  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Trans fat
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Processed food
  • Red meat
  • Fried food
  • Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Gluten
  • Processed meat
  • Sweets
  • Dairy
  • Salty food

Effects of Inflammation on Your Health

Understanding the health effects of inflammation on health is a great way to conduct early intervention and prevention. Chronic inflammation can manifest in various ways, affecting different parts of the body.

1. Redness

Persistent redness can be a visible sign of chronic inflammation. It may indicate ongoing inflammation in the skin or other tissues.

2. Digestive Issues

Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to digestive problems such as bloating, cramping, and irregular bowel movements

3. Weight Gain

Chronic inflammation is associated with metabolic disturbances, potentially leading to weight gain. This is due to the body’s inability to process insulin properly. Without insulin, the body suffers from too much glucose and the liver collects more fat.

4. Fever

While fever is a typical response to acute inflammation, persistent or recurrent fever may indicate chronic inflammatory conditions that require medical attention.

5. Loss of Function

Chronic inflammation can impair the function of affected organs and tissues. Swelling organs and tissues will not be able to perform their functions leading to the damage of healthy cells.

6. Joint Pain

Inflammation in the joints can result in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. When experiencing pain in the joints, it is important to understand that it is a result of the body’s reaction to injury, overuse, infection, or inflammatory triggering food.

7. Insomnia

Chronic inflammation can impact sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or disrupted sleep. When we experience inflammation, the body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm is also ruined and our body loses control of hunger, hormone secretion, body temperature, and sleep-wake cycle daily. 

When to Consult With a Doctor

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of inflammation is the first step, but knowing when to seek professional medical advice is equally important. If you are consistently experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above and are beginning to feel very uncomfortable, it is time to visit a doctor. Consult with a healthcare provider as soon as possible, as this may indicate an underlying health issue that requires attention.

Functional Medicine – How It Helps Reduce Inflammation

Functional medicine focuses on addressing the root causes of health issues, including inflammation. By understanding inflammation and its effect on the different systems in the body, a personalized treatment plan can be created. This will help target the underlying factors contributing to chronic inflammation. Through lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, and targeted interventions, functional medicine aims to reduce inflammation and promote overall health.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you’re experiencing symptoms of chronic inflammation or want personalized guidance on maintaining optimal health, contact us and schedule a consultation. Our team at Spire Health Pathways in Denver is dedicated to providing healthcare solutions to improve your well-being.

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