Inflammation: Super-villain or ?

Within the last year or so, I’ve been hearing a lot about inflammation.  Up until a training I went to recently, I had always heard about the horrors of inflammation.  How it’s bad…get rid of your inflammation in your body or reap the terrible consequences! Eek.  Sounds frightening.  So let’s explore!

Turns out though, inflammation does have it’s purpose in our bodies and while it can be bad, it’s not always bad.  So I wanted to take a moment to talk about inflammation, the good, the bad, the ugly!

woman in black leggings while walking on brown road
Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

Inflammation has a purpose: No, really.  It does!  Imagine this…you are taking a beautiful stroll along the park, when all the sudden you trip and fall on your….arm.  Your wrist puffs up and becomes a little swollen.  Ah-ha! Inflammation!  It’s the bodies natural reaction to an injury or illness and is actually the first step in healing.  What happened when you tripped, fell, and started to swell (aside from me launching my rap career with those sweet rhymes) is your body sent a rush of white blood cells and other helpful fluids to the area as a first line of defense to protect the area.  Think immune system anyone?  So we do need SOME acute inflammation to help our bodies ward off illnesses and heal our injuries.

If we need it, then whats the big deal?  Well, the big deal is sometimes our bodies over-react…like me when my husband tells me my outfit looks “okay”.  Chronic inflammation can throw our bodies for a loop.  Our body get’s exhausted thinking it constantly needs to be working, we get stuck in this chronic stress response and we start to feel tired.  Other systems in our body start wondering if they’ll ever get a break….in a nutshell it’s like having a newborn in your home, but it never grows up and never sleeps.  I don’t think I need to explain why that’s not a good thing, right?

On to the ugly….more and more we are reading articles and hearing reports on how chronic inflammation is being linked to many different diseases.  Even Alzheimer’s.  ALZHEIMER’S FOLKS! Things just got real.  Chronic inflammation is linked to increase of stress hormones, such as cortisol.  While true we need cortisol in appropriate amounts, like inflammation, too much of the hormone leads to some nasty things such as metabolic syndromes and obesity.  I could probably go on for days about the ugliness surrounding chronic inflammation.  But I won’t.  There’s enough information out there in books, magazines, or even a google search to leave your head spinning for days…I’ll let you decide if you want that.

What can be done about it?  In short, it depends.  Longer answer, it depends on who you ask and what you are willing to do.  From the looks of it, and based on my own personal experiences in seeing a doctor to treat inflammation, the standard medical practice is to prescribe an NSAID, a steroid, or both.  This can work short term, however more research is showing the long term effects of these are not so beneficial.  Ultimately, research is leaning more and more towards diet and lifestyle changes as the way to go to treat chronic inflammation.  We will explore that in the near future, stay tuned!

So it would seem there’s more to the inflammation story then meets the eye, there’s so much more to be explored!  This is probably not the last time you will read about inflammation on this blog….you’ve been warned.

Until next time,

Jenn

 

Disclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR.  If you have a health concern, please see a medical doctor.  This blog is not meant to diagnose or treat anything.  What you read here is my opinion based on my experience and is not intended to replace medical treatment.

 

 

Sources:

Nordqvist, C. (2017, November 24). Inflammation: Causes, symptoms, and treatment.        Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php

Can Feelings of Awe Reduce Inflammation? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-mind/mind-body/article/awesome-anti-inflammatory

 

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