We tend to think of inflammation as an annoying, but minor, aspect of our overall health and wellness. However, inflammation is often the first sign, and a significant contributor, to just about every major disease. Inflammation comes in many forms, including the obvious swelling or bruising, but inflammation can also be very insidious as most systemic inflammation is not visual. Many people suffering from inflammation may not even be aware that inside their bodies, often times at the cellular level, inflammation is occurring.
What is Inflammation?
By itself, inflammation is actually a positive body response as it is triggered when our body reacts to infections, injuries, and toxins. The natural inflammatory process recognizes there is something happening in our bodies that needs attention. Once identified, it increases the flow of blood to the area and transports cells from the immune system to attack the problem.
Unfortunately, too much inflammation can actually cause your body harm instead of assisting it to heal or get well. A prolonged inflammatory response can cause irrevocable damage to your heart, brain, and other vital organs. Chronic inflammation can lead to a build-up of plague, which could lead to heart attacks or strokes. A cascading inflammatory response could lead to a whole host of problems, and is also connected to allergies and asthma. Chronic inflammation is often tied to diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
Clearly, getting inflammation levels under control is vital for everyone.
Viruses + Inflammation
Since an infection will trigger an inflammatory response, the viruses we catch impact our inflammation levels. Whether it’s the annual flu or COVID-19, these viruses and infections impact our body’s ability to maintain normal levels of inflammation. The more often we get sick, the more likely we are to develop chronic inflammation – a dangerous situation for our body.
Even more frightening, is that doctors are seeing an increase in heart inflammation after people have contracted various versions of the coronavirus. This ‘inflammation of the heart’ is possible up to 5% of the time with other viral infections, but is showing up 60% of the time with victims of the novel coronavirus. Heart inflammation is happening even with asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. Your body’s natural inflammatory response could be triggered and developing into chronic inflammation, and you may not even know. This type of inflammation can be deadly when sick, but can also linger and continue to cause issues after someone has gotten better.
How Do You Know if You Have Chronic Inflammation?
It’s not as if our body gives us a bright, neon sign when it’s battling chronic inflammation. Sometimes, chronic inflammation is caused by a genetic malfunction, making it even more challenging to identify and target. If you suffer from several of these symptoms, it could be time to have a discussion with your doctor or healthcare provider.
The list of possible inflammation symptoms is:
- Pain you can’t explain
- Frequent headaches
- Brain fog that doesn’t go away
- Chronic fatigue
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Anxiety, depression or mood swings
- Stuffy nose and allergy-like symptoms
- Skin rashes or frequent break-outs
- Unexpected weight gain
- Regular infections or getting sick often
Since the signs of chronic inflammation can mirror those of various illnesses and diseases, it’s not always spotted right away. However, it can still be making you sick or contributing to you not getting better. For those who have tested positive for COVID-19, this is an important conversation to have with your doctor.
First, however, you must identify if you are suffering from chronic inflammation so that you can stop your system from attacking itself and causing unnecessary problems and distractions for your body. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, you can begin treating it by improving your diet, taking supplements, and doing your best to stay well and healthy. If you believe that inflammation is a problem for you, give us a call to discuss getting you back to optimal health.