Seven Consequences of Chronic Inflammation


Most people are familiar with the inflammation that occurs when we injure a joint, cut ourselves or develop an infection. This swelling, redness, heat, and pain is one of our body’s most important mechanisms to heal an injury or fight infection. This acute inflammatory process generally lasts a few days and is the body’s way of recovering naturally. However, it is also possible to develop chronic, systemic inflammation, not related to injury or infection, which causes continual low-level inflammation throughout the body. This type of inflammation can result in damage to healthy tissue leading to many diseases, including osteoporosis.

Chronic inflammation has been found to be a culprit in a wide array of health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, dementia, asthma, obesity and age-related macular degeneration. There is mounting evidence that suggests chronic systemic inflammation can also contribute to osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures in aging adults.

Ongoing systemic inflammation may contribute to loss of bone mass and bone strength by affecting the bone remodeling process; the process where old bone is reabsorbed and new bone is laid down. Inflammation causes an increase in osteoclast activity (cells that break down bone) resulting in accelerated bone loss. Over time, this will lead to a decrease in bone mass leaving them weakened and more susceptible to breaking.

Chronic inflammation is generally not caused by a specific injury but things like:

  • Diet high in processed foods, sugar, trans fats

  • Smoking

  • Chronic stress

  • Poor sleep

  • Obesity

  • Unhealthy gut

  • Chronic infections

  • Toxins

What are some signs and symptoms that chronic inflammation may be contributing to your health issue?

  • Chronic body pains, arthritis, muscle pain

  • Constantly being tired or fatigued

  • Mood disorders like depression or anxiety

  • Memory issues or brain fog

  • Frequent colds and infections

  • Abdominal fat

  • Bowel issues

  • Skin rashes

  • Dry eyes

Testing to check for Chronic inflammation:

  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP): CRP levels increase in the blood when there is a condition causing inflammation.

  • Homocysteine: High levels of homocysteine can be linked to inflammation

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Low levels of omega 3 fatty acids can contribute to inflammation

  • Anti-Oxidants: CoQ10, vitamins E, A and C are all powerful anti-oxidants that are needed to protect your cells against inflammation

There are many comprehensive tests available, beyond the common blood test, that can test for not only CRP and homocysteine but also for the important anti-oxidants and fatty acids

If you are interested, please reach out to me.

Coming up next, lifestyle habits to help reduce and control chronic inflammation!

But in the meantime, I have put together an anti-inflammatory questionnaire that walks you through all of the different signs and symptoms of inflammation. You can use the questionnaire to rate your symptoms now and then again in 1-2 months from now after following an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.

You can download the Inflammatory questionnaire/index HERE.

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