Chronic inflammation: A hidden threat to health

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

Could an innocuous ankle sprain lead to arthritis? Is it possible to jab a tree trunk or spike to develop into chronic inflammation?

Inflammations, under normal conditions, do not necessarily mean anything bad for our health. But when they become chronic, they act "quietly" at the expense of the body and may "cause" more serious health problems. Scientists even reveal more and more diseases for which chronic inflammation is responsible. So let's learn how they work, how they threaten our health and what clues they give to identify and control them.

Defense mechanism

Inflammation is a form of defense of the organism that is being developed to combat "foreign invaders" such as foreign bodies (eg thorn), bacteria and viruses. In the area where the inflammation is manifested, there are collected defensive elements of our organism, which aim at neutralizing the "foreign invader" and in the faster healing of the body. Normally, it is a healthy and beneficial response of the body. It is septic when its cause is a microbe, and aseptic, when caused by some other agent (eg allergy, trauma). The most common symptoms of an inflammation are redness, increased heat in the area, swelling and pain. Depending on the extent of the inflammation and the area of the body in which it occurs, symptoms similar to flu, such as chills, fever, exhaustion and difficulty in breathing, may also occur.

When the reaction takes years

Sometimes, however, #inflammation persists even after neutralizing the cause that caused it, resulting in years. Various harmful stimuli, such as cigarette smoke and other chemicals that enter the body, favor the onset of chronic inflammation, and their development is exacerbated by modern lifestyle, stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise to dominate . In addition, scientific evidence suggests that many chronic inflammations result from the action of an unknown causative agent in people with a genetic predisposition.

In a vulnerable position

There are people who are more prone to developing chronic inflammation. In this category belong those who have heredity for heart disease, rheumatic diseases, diabetes or autoimmune diseases, those who have a lot of extra pounds, but also smokers. The chemicals contained in the #cigarette, as well as the accumulation of fat around the abdomen, make the cells release inflammatory cytokines, substances that promote the onset of inflammation. People with frequent injuries, as well as those who are not sleeping adequately, also have greater sensitivity.

In suspicion ...

Chronic inflammation often does not give symptoms, so it is not always perceived. There are, however, indications that can suspect us of their existence, such as chronic fatigue, low energy levels, but also gastrointestinal disturbances (eg dyspepsia, reflux). It is not accidental, moreover, that ulcerative colitis and #Crohn's disease belong to inflammatory diseases.

"Silent" damage

Numerous medical studies show that there is a correlation between chronic inflammation and many diseases that are characterized as unknown etiology. Chronic inflammation weakens the body's defense, and there are strong indications that it can lead to serious illnesses.

* Crack the heart: Scientific data link atheromatosis (vascular stenosis) with chronic infections and even a particular class of microbes called chlamydia. The chronic inflammation caused by these microbes contributes to the deposition of cholesterol in the vessel walls, resulting in a narrowing.

* Mood Disposition: It has been observed that people exhibiting depressive symptoms exhibit elevated levels of inflammation in the blood.

* Brains: It is believed that Alzheimer's neurodegenerative disease is caused by chronic inflammation of microbial etiology that destroys the brain's neurons, causing irreversible damage.

* Body Confusion: Autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis in which the body's immune system attacks against organs or systems may also be due to chronic inflammation of microbial or viral etiology.

* They favor cancer: Chronic inflammation increases the risk of developing and spreading cancerous tumors. Indeed, it is believed that various forms of cancer (e.g., lung, liver, kidney, cervix, colon, lymph and hematopoietic system) are the result of chronic inflammation.

Zoom on pointers

We can find out if we have some inflammation with simple blood tests. An indicative test is the control of the C-Reactive Protein. CRP is a protein produced by the liver when our body is confronted with an inflammation. In recent years it has also been used as a predictor of heart disease. Another test is that which controls the rate of red blood cell sedimentation (ESR). Any elevated levels in precipitation velocity may indicate inflammation. Another indicator is the number of blood cells. In the case of inflammation, there is an increase in white blood cells. Certainly, there are more specific tests, such as anti-nuclear antibodies (detected in autoimmune diseases) and Ra test (rheumatic examination).

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