September 13, 2022
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When you think of inflammation, do you picture the swelling and redness that accompany an injury or infection? If so, you’d be right. But there’s another, more insidious kind of inflammation — one that’s harder to notice and harmful to your health.
You’ve almost certainly heard the phrase: chronic inflammation. But many of us have a hazy understanding of what it means.
Simply put, this ongoing immune-system reaction can be a symptom of autoimmune and other serious illnesses. But it also plays a role in the disease process of many life-threatening conditions.
In fact, more than 50% of all deaths worldwide are attributed to chronic inflammatory diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke and diabetes.
“Inflammation that’s not specifically from an infection or injury often doesn’t manifest into a lot of clear symptoms,” said Dr. Ketan Amin, a physician with Novant Health Presbyterian Internal Medicine. “It just kind of smolders in the background.”
That’s why it’s so important to know the signs of chronic inflammation and what to do if you notice them. And rest assured, you are not powerless against chronic inflammation. Keep reading for some easy things you can do to prevent it.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is part of our natural healing process. When our bodies are faced with injury, illness or harmful toxins, our immune systems send inflammatory cells and substances to defend themselves and jump-start the healing process.
There are two types of inflammation:
Why is chronic inflammation dangerous?
Because the signs are difficult to spot, many people don’t find out chronic inflammation is a problem for them until they are diagnosed with a serious illness.
“They may not even realize they have an inflammatory condition, because it’s a subtle change that occurs over weeks, months and even years,” Amin said. “So they’re just dealing with the symptoms, like fatigue, every day – and, day after day, it gets a little bit worse.”
Left unaddressed, chronic inflammation can damage healthy cells, tissues and organs, and may cause internal scarring, tissue death and damage to the DNA in previously healthy cells. Ultimately, this can lead to the development of potentially disabling or life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer or Type-2 diabetes.
What causes chronic inflammation?
In addition to contributing to the development of illness, chronic inflammation can also be a symptom — in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
It can also result from untreated injuries or illnesses, or from exposure to industrial chemicals, pollutants and other environmental toxins.
Certain lifestyle factors may also make you more prone to developing chronic inflammation that can lead to disease, including:
Unfortunately, simply aging can put us at risk of increased chronic inflammation, possibly due to a lifetime’s exposure to pollutants and toxins, or an increase in visceral (belly) fat.
“Some level of baseline inflammation is unavoidable as you age, but it can be reduced in otherwise healthy individuals,” Amin said. “If you follow certain healthy life strategies, (like those below,) then you’ll likely be better off than those who don’t.”
How can you tell if you have chronic inflammation?
Because it occurs internally, the symptoms may not be noticeable at first. Some of the most common signs of chronic inflammation include:
“If these symptoms sound familiar, and you feel like you may be suffering from chronic inflammation, it’s a good idea to talk about it with your doctor,” Amin said. “There may be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.”
How is it treated?
If you have ongoing pain, fatigue, or other worrisome symptoms, your doctor can help you determine what’s causing them, and may recommend a variety of treatments, including:
Long-term use of NSAIDs and corticosteroids has been associated with health risks. So always check with your health care provider before taking these or other medicines or supplements.
Eight ways to prevent chronic inflammation
Knowing how harmful chronic inflammation can be to your health is important. But even more critical is understanding that you can take steps to prevent it. Here are eight evidence-based ideas Amin suggests to help you get started:
Source: Novant Health
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Theo tuổi tác, hệ miễn dịch của chúng ta trở nên kém hiệu quả hơn trong việc đối phó với các tình trạng nhiễm trùng cũng như kém đáp ứng với việc chủng ngừa. Đồng thời, hệ miễn dịch lão hóa có mối liên hệ với tình trạng viêm mạn tính, từ đó làm tăng
With age, the human immune system becomes less effective at tackling infections and less responsive to vaccinations. At the same time, the aging immune system is associated with chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of almost all conditions linked to old age. The good news is that exercising and adopting the right diet may help