Mark Twain once said "Too much of a good thing is bad". When it comes to exercise or even drinking orange juice, it is good to keep moderation in mind.
The same is true for inflammation. You certainly do not want constant inflammation. However, did you know that a little inflammation is a good thing? It is referred to as "acute" inflammation and, without it, you would not be aware of cuts, bruising, and other injuries. Inflammation is your body's warning system that something is wrong. This is the redness, the warmth, swelling and pain around tissues and joints when injured or a cut has taken place. Immediately white blood cells and other chemical messengers get sent to the injured area. The "acute" situation places your body on a heightened awareness to handle the situation at hand and to, eventually, get back to normal.
This warning system or inflammation can be likened to your car's dash board. A light comes on when there is a problem and alerts you to find out what it is and take care of it. Sometimes, however, this warning system malfunctions and doesn't turn off when it is supposed to. This leaves the body in a "chronic" inflammatory state.
Chronic inflammation is when your body continues to be in a heightened warning state, contnuing to send out white blood cells and other chemical messengers when they are not needed. Not only does this exhaust your body but these white blood cells start attacking healthy areas of the body unnecessarily. Basically, your body is under constant attack and the immune system has no rest.
Danger lies with chronic inflammation as it is connected to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Chrohn's and Ulcerative Colitis, fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders. The problem with this type of inflammation is that it can be "silent", a slow creeper. It sometimes does not rear it's ugly head until it is quite advanced.
Dash board lights are many times referred to as "idiot lights" because they may not send a warning until the problem is already advanced.
So, is all inflammation bad? Absolutely not. You want the acute inflammation to help your body fight infection and speed up the healing process. It is a protection to the body. The chronic inflammation, however, is what should be avoided whenever possible. Prevention is the best approach by maintaining a healthy weight, choosing a good diet, getting plenty of sleep and exercising regularly.
What if you find yourself already in a chronic inflammatory condition? Consider seeking medical help for possible tests.
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