If you’re focused on keeping yourself healthy for now and as you age, then there’s one thing you should pay close attention to, perhaps more than anything else, and that is chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is a good thing. It’s a self-limiting response to infection or injury. For instance, if you sprain your ankle, your body signals to your immune system that it’s injured and that repair is needed. You’ll see and feel redness, warmth, and swelling in the injured area. But once the inflammatory response has done its job and the injury heals, the inflammation should disappear.
Chronic Inflammation is Different
Inflammation becomes “chronic” when the inflammatory response won’t shut down once the injury heals and can last for months to years. And when that happens, tissue in your joints and organs slowly degrades, and scar tissue builds.
Beyond pain, chronic inflammation can cause permanent damage and affect your life span. Not surprisingly, chronic inflammation is linked to many chronic diseases, affects about 40% of the population, and increases as you age.
Signs of Chronic Inflammation
1. Stomach Pain
Chronic inflammation can lead to chronic stomach pain for a few reasons. First, several inflammatory diseases originate in the gut, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and gastritis. Secondly, research shows that your stomach is highly sensitive to even low levels of inflammation.
This fatigue isn’t the staying up late and missing sleep kind of tired. This is exhausted all the time, no matter how much sleep you get. Fatigue is similar to the way you feel run down when you are sick. Your immune system uses a lot of your natural energy when it remains active and works overtime to regulate itself.
3. Skin Conditions
Skin conditions like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis occur when your immune system triggers the inflammatory response to attack skin cells. Rashes, red itchy patches, and scales are common in various autoimmune diseases known for causing systemic inflammation.
Certain inflammatory compounds can cross the blood-brain barrier and decrease serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain, altering its function and mood regulation. Furthermore, the hormone cortisol released during the fight-or-flight stress response can further exacerbate the risk for depression.
5. Nose and Throat Mucus
Do you find yourself constantly needing to blow your nose or clear your throat?
Mucus is good when it’s part of the immune response to toxins, bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Mucus protects the cells in the respiratory, urogenital, and digestive systems and keeps your nasal cavity from drying out.
Several inflammatory diseases, allergies to foods, and environmental factors can trigger mucus production. Mucous cells that are consistently irritated can cause chronic mucus production.
6. Body Aches
The most prominent and common signs of chronic inflammation are consistent pain and stiffness in your muscles and joints. Immune cells produce inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that trigger the inflammatory response. These chemicals are present at high levels in diseased joints and tissue linked to classic inflammatory diseases such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, and arthritis.
If any of these symptoms are regular and uncomfortable occurrences for you, talk to your doctor about getting a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Ways to Minimize Chronic Inflammation
More and more health experts agree that eliminating excessive, long-term inflammation helps keep your joints and muscles pain-free and your organs in better working order. Here are four ways to help you minimize chronic inflammation…
1. Control Your Stress
Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routines, such as walking, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
2. Sound Sleep
Sleep is one of the most effective stress reducers. Regular sleep restores your body, improves your focus and judgment, and helps balance your mood. You are better able to cope when you are well-rested. Getting seven to nine hours per night is essential.
From walking to lifting, exercise offers your body and mind a wealth of benefits, including helping your body fight inflammation. When you move your muscles, they release a protein called Interleukin 6 (IL6) that helps suppress inflammation-causing chemicals.
4. Eat This…
Foods such as apples, grapes, chocolate, and olive oil are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that may help protect and reduce chemicals in your body that cause chronic inflammation.
Some foods have been shown to support a healthy inflammation response, like Turmeric specifically.
But, unless you absolutely love the taste of Turmeric, you may not be able to use enough in your cooking to make much of a difference in your overall health. You see, the compound that gives Turmeric its anti-inflammation ability is curcumin. In numerous studies, curcumin has been found to fight against the inflammation caused by arthritis, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Turmeric supplements provide higher levels of curcumin than the spice alone. Stonehenge Health’s Turmeric with Ginger is a potent 1,600mg of Curcumin Longa Root Extract with 95% Curcuminoids, Ginger Root Extract, and BioPerine® to maximize absorption and help reduce inflammation and joint pain.
Take Turmeric with Ginger daily as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases (nih.gov)
The 6 Best Anti-Inflammatory Exercises | Livestrong.com