According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic diseases are the greatest threat to human health. Chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world. Chronic inflammation is also referred to as "slow, long-term inflammation" lasting for prolonged periods of time, several months or years as can be the case in autoimmune conditions.
Chronic inflammation is like drifting in a boat. You are completely unaware of the movement of the boat. It is so slow and gradual. Only when you make special effort to look do you notice how far away from the shore you have now drifted. The progression of inflammation can be the same way.... very slow and silent.... until you take the time to look and see how far your health has drifted. Inflammation is a major contributor to several diseases:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Arthritis and joint diseases
- Alzheimer's disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Chronic Inflammation: What are the causes?
- Failure to eliminate or remove the specific agent causing an acute inflammation: So, in other words, your stop or reset button for inflammation has been tampered with and is not functioning properly. The culprit could be an infectious organism such as protozoa, fungi, bacteris (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) or other parasites.
- Exposure to a particular irritant or foreign material: Again, somewhere along the lines your system is broken and the enzymatic action or the WBC (phagocytosis) action that should be able to breakdown or engulf and remove the offensive particulate is unable to do so. These particulates could include industrial chemicals and environmental elements as silica dust.
- Autoimmune disorders: RA, SLE, Chrohn's, UC, Hashimoto's, Fibromyalgia
- Genetic disorders: Familial Mediterranean Fever, Celiac
- Recurrent episodes of acute inflammation: Experiencing the same type of acute inflammation several times a year or every month such as a sinus infection or respiratory congestion.
- Increased production of free radical molecules
What are some risk factors associated with chronic inflammation?
- Age: mitochondrial dysfunction or free radicals increases over time
- Obesity: Many studies have shown that fat tissue is an endocrine organ that secretes inflammatory mediators.
- Diet: saturated fats, trans fat or refined sugars tend to increase production of pro-inflammatory molecules. There is the saying "you are what you eat". A bigger truth bomb is "you are what you absorb". Either healthy nutrients or the "yuckies" of a not-so-healthy diet. Your body will eventually reflect this.
- Smoking: lowers the production of anti-inflammatory molecules
- Low Sex Hormones: maintaining testosterone and estrogen levels can reduce the production of several pro-inflammatory markers.
- Stress and sleep disorders: physical and emotional stress are associated with inflammatory cytokine release. Stress increases with reduced sleep.
If you find yourself already in a chronic inflammatory condition, consider seeking medical help for possible tests.
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