Low grade inflammation plays a key role in making you sick. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. The assumption, extant for a long time, has been that chronic illness happens through a major disease such as cancer, heart disease, dementia or diabetes.
But recent research suggests that the common trigger is actually inflammation.
For example, cardiologists at Massachusetts General in Boston found that an anti-inflammatory drug, Canikinumab, effectively lowered the rates for heart disease. It also reduced lung cancer mortality by 77 percent.
Low Grade Inflammation: What Is It?
Chronic inflammation is a slow acting condition caused by an immune system imbalance.This keeps your body in a constant, long-term state of high alert, that acts as a catalyst to cause the most damage.
When cells are in distress, they release chemicals that alert the immune system. White blood cells then flood the scene, and destroy bacteria, viruses, and damaged cells caused by an infection or injury. If the damage is extensive, backup cells such as neutrophils, ( atype of white blood cell) which destroys all cells — healthy and damaged ones.
In chronic inflammation, neutrophils continue to fire and can also damage the remaining healthy tissues.
For example, inflammation can start attacking the linings of your arteries, intestines, liver and brain. Even the tissues of your muscles and joints can be attacked. Inflammation induced cell damage often can lead to diabetes, cancer, dementia, heart disease, arthritis and depression.
Chronic Inflammation Difficult To Diagnose
Here are a few examples:
- An outside infection: You contract a chronic infection like hepatitis C or Lyme disease that lingers in the body for a long time. Your body responds with inflammation that also lingers a long time. This inflammation — not the viruses — is what causes long-term damage.
- Genetics: You inherit a genetic propensity toward a health issue. Diabetes and cancer are two genetically related diseases that can be triggered by inflammation. In other cases, the gene itself causes a misfiring of the immune system that causes the inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and other diseases.
- Environment: Pollution, air and water quality, environmental allergies and a host of other environmental factors can trigger and sustain inflammation.
- Lifestyle: Obesity, unregulated stress, tobacco use, drinking too much, lack of physical activity, lousy sleep and, of course, poor diet are all linked to chronic inflammation.
Low Grade Inflammation: Aging
We visibly age through exposure to environmental toxins, stress, alcohol, and unhealthy foods. This, in turn, weakens the immune system and makes it more difficult to extract nutrients from food. Whatever it is, the breakdown begins.
- The immune system is activated. Whether it’s a chronic disease, an autoimmune disorder, weight gain, psychological stress, poor nutrition, exposure to chemicals or allergens — your body goes into in a state of stress and keeps it there.
- The immune system responds. The body goes into attack mode with its inflammatory response. This will include blood vessel expansion to increase blood flow to the problem areas.
- Response is continuous. An endless cycle of pro-inflammatory foods, rampant stress, bad sleep and more keeps this process in constant motion because we never give the body a break.
Be careful regarding the foods you eat. Certain foods lead to inflammation, such as deli meats, fried foods and saturated fats. Both gingivitis and sclerotic arteries are inflammatory conditions.
Bad foods are implicated in such diseases as metabolic syndrome, pulmonary disorders and nervous system conditions.