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Why it's crucial to detect chronic inflammation early

Why it's crucial to detect chronic inflammation early

Chronic inflammation can last from months, years, to an entire lifetime. Serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer can be linked to chronic inflammation. Here, you will learn more about chronic inflammation, its symptoms, and how to detect the condition early.

Quick version

What is Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic inflammation is a prolonged inflammatory response that can vary in intensity from mild to severe and can last for months, years, or even a lifetime. Unlike acute inflammation, which is the body's immediate and temporary response to injury or infection, chronic inflammation is characterized by a slow, constantly ongoing inflammatory process. This type of inflammation can occur when the body continues to send out inflammatory cells and signals even when there is no external threat to fight or when the immune system targets the body's own tissues, which happens in autoimmune diseases.

How does chronic inflammation affect the body?

Chronic inflammation ultimately damages your body's healthy cells, tissues, and organs and over time, this can lead to tissue damage. These are in turn linked to the development of several serious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes. The inflammation is caused by several factors, such as:

  • Long-term exposure to irritants, such as pollutants or industrial chemicals
  • Chronic infections
  • Autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks healthy cells
  • Lifestyle factors, such as unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, stress, and excessive alcohol intake
  • Age.

Not everyone exposed to these problems will develop chronic inflammation, and some cases of chronic inflammation do not have a clear underlying cause.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation in the body

Acute inflammation often causes symptoms such as pain, redness, or swelling, which quickly become apparent. However, symptoms of chronic inflammation are usually much more subtle, making them easy to overlook. This means that one often has the inflammation for a longer time before discovering it.

Common symptoms of chronic inflammation include:

  • Fatigue
  • Body pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal complications such as diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Persistent infections

The symptoms can last for several months or years and can vary and be both mild and severe. They can also vary depending on the underlying cause as well as which organs or tissues are affected.

How to detect chronic inflammation

Various blood tests can assist in the investigation and detection of chronic inflammation in the body. By measuring and analyzing C-reactive protein (CRP), Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and other markers that can indicate inflammation such as complete blood count.

How is chronic inflammation treated?

The treatment of chronic inflammation focuses on addressing the underlying causes, which can include medication, dietary changes, and lifestyle adjustments. Adopting a low glycemic index diet, reducing the intake of saturated fats, and increasing the consumption of leafy greens, nuts, and fruit can help lower inflammation. Supplements such as zinc, vitamins A, C, D, and omega-3 fatty acids can also play a role in dampening inflammation and supporting the body's healing processes. Further lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and improving stress management, also contribute to reducing inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk for many serious diseases. A combination of medication, dietary supplements, exercise, and an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce this risk. It is important to consult your doctor before making any major changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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