7 Subtle Signs of Inflammation
The diagnosis of medical conditions is an extremely complex and difficult art, but science tells us that many diseases have something in common – inflammation. Inflammation is a normal response when your body is asked to defend itself against a threat, like bacteria, burns, frostbite, or injuries like sprains or fractures.
Your body uses inflammation as part of the healing process, and when it happens as it should, the body heals and there is generally no long-lasting effect. But when inflammation becomes chronic, in response to ongoing irritation or disruption, it manifests as diverse syndromes like cardiovascular complaints, back pain, chronic fatigue, digestive issues or metabolic imbalances.
When that occurs, it can be dangerous and even life threatening.
Acute inflammation brings swelling, dilated blood vessels, pain, heat and redness. But once the cause of the inflammation passes, the body settles down, substances in the blood quiet the storm, and the person heals and moves forward.
Chronic inflammation is different. If the cause of the inflammation persists, like for example smoking, bad diet, unhealthy spine, not getting enough sleep or whatever, it can develop into harmful patterns that lead to life-threatening diseases like colitis, phlebitis, cardiovascular conditions, even Alzheimer’s.
Here are seven subtle signs of inflammation, to alert you that there may be an underlying health problem brewing.
People who are always tired often have inflammatory and pro-inflammatory chemicals in their bloodstream. If you frequently feel tired, the simplest solution is just to get more sleep – if you get seven or eight hours every night and still feel tired, it may be a sign of chronic inflammation.
Joint pain may accompany structural distortion which irritates muscles and ligaments, or it can point out a primary site of inflammation, like in rheumatoid arthritis. In RA and other related conditions, the immune system releases inflammatory substances that attack the joints, which leads to local responses like pain, swelling and discoloration. If your joints hurt even if you haven’t done anything to injure yourself, it may be a sign of chronic inflammation.
Ailments like Crohn’s Disease, food allergies and irritable bowel syndrome are evidence of inflammation in the digestive tract. These people may experience diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain or gassiness and bloating. If this happens after a spicy or oversized meal, and it passes quickly, then it’s usually no problem, but if it happens a lot, it may be a sign of chronic inflammation.
Red Itchy Skin
Dermatitis is inflammation of the skin, and while it may happen occasionally from harsh rubbing or a reaction to chemicals or noxious plants, it should pass quickly and leave no residual problems. If your skin is chronically red, itchy, scaly or patchy, it may be a sign of chronic inflammation.
Coughing or Cold Symptoms
Symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, wheezing or chest pain may be related to inflammation of the lungs or sinuses. This may take the form of bronchitis, allergies or ongoing flu-like syndrome. This usually passes after a week or two, but if it persists, it may be a sign of chronic inflammation.
Many people don’t realize that the fat cells around the abdomen put out chemicals that increase inflammation. Obesity is both a cause and an effect of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other metabolic disturbances. Many studies have demonstrated the relationship between belly fat and chronic inflammation.
People who are anxious or stressed may become depressed, and while this is natural in times of great adversity, if it is allowed to continue for too long it can either cause or be caused by inflammation. Ongoing emotional distress creates this vicious cycle, where inflammation causes more depression, which causes more inflammation, and so on. Those who suffer these mental imbalances are often being victimized by chronic inflammation.
There are many ways to reduce chronic inflammation, including weight reduction, sleep, exercise, meditation, yoga, improved diet and chiropractic adjustments. If you feel you or any of your loved ones have any of the signs mentioned above, consult your doctor of chiropractic or wellness advisor to reverse the trends of inflammation and restore healthy function.