You may have heard about inflammation from your doctor or read about it on the Internet. There are 2 kinds: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is part of the normal healing process. It causes the redness, warmth, swelling, and pain you feel when you cut yourself or get a splinter.
But when inflammation sticks around for a while, it can become chronic. Chronic inflammation is linked to many health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
For instance, inflammation in blood vessels happens when a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the walls of arteries. Sometimes the plaque breaks open, causing the body to send out white blood cells to attack this harmful material and seal it off with a clot of blood. If the blood clot is large, it can block blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.
If you have chronic inflammation, it’s important to reduce it. But many times, people don’t know that they have it. Here are 6 common signs that you may have chronic inflammation:
- Weight gain
Excess weight and inflammation go hand-in-hand. A 2019 study found that as weight increased, levels of an inflammation marker in the blood called C-reactive protein (CRP) rose, too. This excess weight can also lead to insulin resistance, which raises the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Frequent infections
If you keep getting infections or infections keep coming back, chronic inflammation might be to blame
- Chronic fatigue and insomnia
Research shows inflammation can lead to chronic fatigue, and data indicates that several inflammation factors are linked with sleeplessness
- Mood problems like depression and anxiety
If you’re feeling sad or anxious, it could be due to chronic inflammation. Research also shows that antidepressants can affect inflammation markers in the body
- Body pain
Inflammation-related disorders can be behind the pain in your muscles, joints, and spine
- Constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux
Constipation and heartburn are signs that your body is dealing with inflammation. Unexplained diarrhea can result from inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Want to reverse inflammation in your body? Take these steps:
The heavier you are, the more likely you are to have chronic inflammation.
Cut down on processed and packaged foods.
They often have unhealthy fats that promote inflammation.
Load up on fruits and vegetables.
Look for those high in antioxidants like blueberries, apples, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli. Cherries and cherry juice may be particularly helpful in calming inflammation.
Eat fish at least 2 times a week.
Or ask your doctor about taking fish oil supplements. Fish and fish oil contain omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation.
Increase the fiber in your diet.
Eat whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables. A high amount of fiber in the diet lowers inflammatory markers in the body.
Both green and black teas reduce CRP, the inflammation marker.
Exercising most days of the week helps you shed weight, which can lower inflammation. It also reduces substances in the body that increase inflammation.
For more information
Concerned about inflammation in your body? Ask your doctor about blood and urine tests that can tell you about your personal risk for this harmful condition.