Inflammation is a Silent Killer
Many people when they think of inflammation, they think of a swollen ankle, or pain in the hip. While that is one type of inflammation, not all inflammation causes pain. Some inflammation that is directed at the heart or the brain, doesn’t make us hurt at all, rather just “burns” the organ at a faster rate so that it manifests with more problems and ultimately worse outcomes. Inflammation can be unnoticed but deadly.
Not necessarily genetic? Treatable?
We often think that conditions such as heart disease are an autoimmune condition are destined to take over the body if our mom or dad had them. However, the more science that comes out says that most conditions are not determined by genetics, but rather the environment that those genetics are in. This is an overwhelmingly positive message, because it means if we control that environment, and lower an inflammatory environment then pathology may not even express itself, or its expression is less dramatic.
Understanding Chronic vs Acute Inflammation
The difference between acute and chronic inflammation is that acute inflammation is typically short, and chronic inflammation is persistent and long-lasting. Acute inflammation has five major traits, including heat, swelling, and loss of function in the affected area. Chronic inflammation may have these characteristics, but they are often at a much lower level and may not be easily noticeable. Acute inflammation usually lasts a few days and clears up on its own. Chronic inflammation is often self-sustaining, may last weeks or years, and causes tissue damage over time.
Acute inflammation can be caused by a number of factors. Common causes include infection, burns, and any number of injuries, all of which damage tissue. The acute inflammatory response is an attempt to remove damaged or dead cells and any external matter that may have entered the tissue. This allows the body to begin to repair the affected tissue.
The five characteristics of acute inflammation are outward signs of the body’s defense and repair mechanisms. Dilated blood vessels cause redness and heat, but allow nutrients and specialized cells to enter the affected area. Local pain occurs because nerves are stimulated by the inflammatory response. Swelling, caused by fluid retention in the tissues, also stimulates the nerves and makes the area more sensitive. Although unpleasant, pain causes the individual to rest the affected area, which promotes healing.
Chronic inflammation is the fire behind many chronic pathologies. However, it does not have outward signs like a rash swelling. Because of this we must use various approaches to unmask the presence of chronic inflammation. By looking at foods we eat and our sensitivity to them, or toxic levels, lower levels of nutrients and markers of chronic inflammation we can find out how much inflammation is causing stress on our genetics and causing signs and symptoms to become worse. By doing detective work early, we can prevent many conditions from even occurring in the first place.
Low-grade, chronic inflammation- lasting for months or even years- is associated with a wide range of health conditions. Metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease can all be linked back to inflammation (and often NOT the causes people originally thought, like eating healthy fats or cholestrol).
This type of inflammation is caused by an excessive stress load on the body. This can include physical, emotional, toxin, and chemical stress. Inflammatory responses in your body then kick in as a response to these oxidative stressors, and they have the potential to overwhelm your immune system.
What symptoms and damage does inflammation cause?
In fact the most common damaging effects of inflammation are: joint pain & loss of mobility, loss of bone mass, loss of mental clarity and cognitive decline, weight gain, poor GI/Gut function, poor cardiovascular health, and accelerated skin aging.
Other symptoms may include: trouble regulating mood, anger, depression, anxiety, sleep issues, headaches, stomach issues, gas, bloating, constipation, increased blood pressure, allergies, loss of libido, lower bone density, increased joint pain, and decreased immunity/getting sick more often.
Left untreated, inflammation has been linked to serious health conditions such as: Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, Asthma, Diabetes, Heart attacks, Strokes, Kidney disease, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Migraines, Macular degeneration, Arthritis, and Cancer.
What are Some Forms of Stress Causes Inflammation?
Beyond work, relationships, and people stress that we are famliar with, there are many factors in our environment causing stress to the body. Environmental toxins in our home cleaning products and even in our cosmetics. As an example, molds and fungus, mercury in our fish, or even glyphosate in our grains.
The food we eat can also cause stress to the body.
At Progressive, we conduct food sensitivity testing and inflammatory marker testing to get to your specifics, so you can reduce inflammation through your dietary changes as well. Food can be medicine, but the wrong foods can also be like a slow poison causing inflammation throughout the system. In general, we would probably recommend that people trying to lower their inflammation reduce or even better, eliminate, their intake of the following foods:
- Refined carbohydrates, especially flour
- Processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners (they are heavily processed, and often chemical formulations)
- Meat that is farm raised (that is not grass fed or organic)
- Farm-raised fish
- Non-organic produce
- Vegetables oils, with the exception being olive oil
- Fried foods / Fast food
If inflammation is often silent, how does Progressive know what to do?
Advanced testing, years of experience, and more comprehensive treatment methods are how we know what to do.
We know that much of what starts an inflammatory process in the body, begins in the gut.
The gut runs from our mouth, to our stomach, and intestines and all the way out. Based on flora and enzymes in the gut this is where inflammation often starts and how it persists. By conducting Advanced Diagnostic testing on gut inflammation markers, we gain insight on to whether your body is inflamed or not. Why do we run tests? Often times, people do not have to have symptoms in the stomach or gut to have gut based inflammation. However, Gut-based inflammation can cause wide-spread damage that manifests in other ways: joint pain, arthritis, GI issues, brain fog, memory issues, autism, or other seemingly non-GI related symptoms.
At Progressive, we take inflammation treatment seriously. We strongly believe inflammation is the root of so many of today’s illnesses. And we are the experts in treating inflammation using the best methods available, and customized to every patient.
Learn more about how to reduce your inflammation with Progressive!