Our society is afflicted by diseases like arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), heart disease, diabetes and the need of the hour is to make long-term lifestyle changes to control or eliminate their occurrence. While these diseases may be different, a common denominator that ties them all is Inflammation.
Inflammation is an important element of a healthy body's immunity and is often characterized by swelling, a mark of redness, warmth, and pain.
A research by the US health science concluded that inflammation is linked to everything from bloating and acne to life threatening illnesses.
Top health priority now remains is to fight inflammation.
Know the good and bad part of inflammtion - Acute and Chronic
Inflammation as a whole is not a bad thing as a bodily function. When our body is weak or injured, our immune system comes into action with the army of white blood cells to the injured part and increases the blood flow.
Since there is an increased attention by the immune system to that specific injured area, we may feel pain, redness, discomfort or swelling.
The white blood cells surround the injured area and absorb and kills germs, repairs or removes dead or damaged cells and other foreign materials to help heal the body. Blood clots created by hormones heals and removes the damaged/dead tissues when healing is finished; and in due process one can experience pain and fever as well.
Swelling happens when fluid gets mixed with the white blood cells. Pus is an amassing of dead white blood cells after ingesting the harmful materials and no-longer-needed cells.
In a healthy body, inflammation is an effective immune response that helps healing the wounds.
This is also referred as Acute inflammation which is a short-term disorder and happens just after a minor cut or boils in the skin, maybe an infected ingrown nail, a sprained ankle, bronchitis, a sore throat.
When the immune system reacts with excessive white blood cells, the excess white blood cells start attacking the healthy tissues of the body. The result of such an attack can be an immune disorder and diseases like arthritis and irritable bowel disease (IBD). The result is Chronic inflammation or low-grade inflammation. Chronic inflammation arises in conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, osteoarthritis, asthma, arthritis, allergies, Crohn’s disease and is a long-term disorder.
Chronic inflammation occurs in people with excess weight and factors like lack of physical activity, stress and severe alcohol consumption, poor oral health, smoking that increase the chances of chronic inflammation.
The 'good' Actue inflammation is the body's attempt to heal itself after an injury while chronic inflammation is prone to long-term diseases, is considered as bad.
Risks of Inflammation
Many researchers are working to gather all the implications of the long-term inflammation on the body.
Following risks were identified that may pose a threat to the immune system of an adult:
When white blood cells attack the normal body cells resulting in high insulin resistance and blood sugar. This increases the risk for diabetes, and insulin resistance increases the risk of weight gain. The results were published in the journal Gerontology.
Blood vessels get inflamed and as a result, cholesterol gets stored in the blood vessels causing blockages and clots that may eventually lead to heart attack.
Chronic Inflammation ups the risk of heart disease and the same is concluded by Standford University researchers too. Scientists also found that gum disease can also increase the chance of heart diseases.
Diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are linked to chronic inflammation; a fact proven by a research conducted by the Respiratory Research Institute in the US. Chronic inflammation can block the lungs and cause respiratory problems in the long run.
Chronic inflammation is linked to bone loss and lack of bone growth. This theory was concluded by scientists who believed that cells in the blood get involved in the remodeling process when old bones are replaced by new ones causing inflammation. The inflammation results in bone damage and loss of calcium and Vitamin D.
Depressed people face more inflammation when compared to those who aren't depressed. Scientists in a study found 30 percent more chances of inflammation in depressed people. They concluded that cells of the blood interfere with hunger signals causing loss of appetite and sleep.
The results of the study were published in the journal JAMA.
Immune cells in our body attack tumors in an inflammatory response and further infiltrate the tumor. The tumor grows by using the oxygen and the nutrients present in the inflammatory response causing cancer. The results were confirmed by the UK Research Institute for Cancer.
One of the remedies to switch to anti-inflammatory foods that can not only alleviate but even cure the symptoms of the diseases with inflammation as the root cause. Health experts believe an “anti-inflammatory diet,” can help to contain this low-grade chronic inflammation. Know more about the Superfoods that can fight inflammation: Foods that pack a nutritional punch and fights inflammation