The Inflammation Abomination

Most people experience more than one health concern at a time. Very rarely do people feel great and then suddenly encounter an isolated issue like low back pain or diseases like Alzheimer’s. Generally, they have an underlying condition in the body that precedes and, indeed, causes or contributes to the “sudden” health concern that arises.

In many cases, it is the same condition within the body that allows pain, illness and disease to take hold, making us feel unwell.

For many of the most pressing health concerns, that underlying condition is chronic low-grade inflammation.

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When You Need To Worry

Inflammation is a natural response your body has to stress. For example, if you eat something too spicy, you may have experienced inflamed intestines. The inflammation helps protect the digestive tract. As another example, when you sprain your ankle, it swells to create a cushion and protect the joint from further damage. Such acute inflammation arises quickly and generally dissipates after a normal period of time. However, inflammation that is chronic and low-grade or not externally apparent is cause for concern. That kind of inflammation may show as a skin redness or rash, but it may also present as chronic pain or fever.

Inflammation that remains in the body can wreak havoc, causing serious health concerns and disease. It is caused and remains active because of genetics, diet, lifestyle choices and one’s environment. Chronic inflammation breaks your body’s internal balance point, disrupts its ability to regulate the immune system and affects the functions of the central nervous system. As such, under the influence of chronic low-grade inflammation, you run a greater risk for pain, illness, disease and accelerated signs and symptoms of aging.

Signs And Symptoms Of Inflammation

You should always be mindful of the state of your health and wellness. If you find you experience chronic conditions that could be described as “annoyances” and don’t require an immediate trip to your doctor, then keep an eye on them. If these irritating signs and symptoms remain for more than a month (some linger for years, even decades, if not treated), you may be experiencing chronic low-grade inflammation.

Signs, symptoms, conditions and diseases associated with inflammation include:

  • Acid Reflux
  • Acne
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Bronchitis
  • Candidiasis
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Gout
  • Headache
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Infections
  • Join pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Sciatica
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Urinary tract infections

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Causes Of Chronic Inflammation

Stress is the primary cause of inflammation. And there are all forms of stress to be aware of: psychological stress, physical stress, dietary stress, environmental stress and stressful lifestyle choices.

Psychological stress can have many causes. These include a poor relationship with your significant other and tense relationships at the office. Internal struggles with self-worth and achievement of personal goals are other examples of how psychological conflicts can stress the body, leading to inflammation, muscle tightness, constricted blood flow and overstimulation by the central nervous system.

Physical stressors are perhaps the most obvious causes of inflammation. Working out too hard or for too long without proper warm-up can cause muscle strains and joint sprains. Pain, redness and swelling along the muscles or around the joints are the sure signs. In these cases, short-term inflammation is desirable, but prolonged inflammation is unhealthy and must be reduced and eliminated.

Dietary stress can wreak havoc on the body through impairing digestion, hindering waste motility, promoting abdominal distension and causing acid reflux. Diets that are high in fat and cholesterol, refined flour and sugar, diuretic beverages containing caffeine and alcohol, and allergens like nuts can cause chronic inflammation that may go unnoticed until a major problem occurs.

Subtle Stressors

Environmental stressors are perhaps the hardest to detect or attribute to personal health. Yet living or work environments that are damp or mildewed inflame the lungs and sinuses. Fluorescent lamps, power lines and electronic devices (especially wireless) attack the body with damaging electromagnetic frequencies.

Lifestyle choices are the stressors that are most amenable to control and alleviation. These include not eating right, skimping on sleep, indulging in recreational drugs, relying on pharmaceuticals while avoiding natural solutions and harboring negative feelings. This list also includes watching too much television or engaging in too much physical activity when the body is not prepared for it.

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Natural Methods To Reduce Inflammation

It is very important to reduce and eliminate chronic low-grade inflammation to allow the body to restore its internal balance. When the body is left to its restorative ways and not interrupted or prevented by inflammation, there is a good chance of attaining a healthy state of wellness. When the body is out of balance, the risk for developing inflammatory-related signs, symptoms, conditions and diseases increases. The good news: There are plenty of simple, natural ways to reduce inflammation and take control of your health.

Reduce your stress: Stress-reduction techniques are plentiful and easy to perform. Establish a time each day for at least 20 minutes of relaxation to calm the body and mind. You may find aromatherapy and hot baths effective. Some people engage in tai chi and yoga. Others find meditation a powerful tool. Find what works for you, but be consistent. Try different methods and stick to them. The best results are found with consistent engagement.

Improve your diet: Diet is a crucial contributor to health and especially the inflammation response. Foods high in refined sugar, fats, cholesterol, processed wheat and preservatives wreak havoc on the digestive tract. When you overconsume dehydrating foods, don’t drink enough water and eat an insufficient amount of whole grains and green leafy vegetables, you can suffer constipation. Consuming too many nightshades also contributes to inflammation. Find a balance, avoid foods that are acidic to the body (processed foods) and eat more foods that are alkalizing like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Exercise in balance: Exercise is important for health and well-being. It strengthens muscles, boosts feel-good hormones, reduces inflammatory fats and chemicals, and reduces stress. Too little or too much exercise, though, is not healthy. Find the exercise level that is adequate for you to feel good, promote health and reduce inflammation.

Balance your lifestyle: Nothing can influence your levels of avoidable inflammation as much as your daily lifestyle choices. If you are suffering the negative effects of chronic inflammation, establish a consistent sleep and wake pattern, hold your level of recreational stimulants to a minimum or exclude them altogether, eat healthy meals, reduce stress, and get just the right amount of exercise and rest. Also, don’t sweat (or stress out over) the small stuff.

Supplementation: There are quite a few supplements that help reduce and/or prevent inflammation. These include turmeric and curcumin concentrates, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3, and Zyflamed. A quick Internet search will list others. Supplements are necessary when your diet is lacking or the body is in need of more concentrated anti-inflammatory help. Balance these with your food choices for best results.

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Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.