What’s the Big Deal About Inflammation?

Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response; without it, we can’t heal. But when it’s out of control—as in rheumatoid arthritis—it can damage the body. Plus, it’s thought to play a role in obesity, heart disease, cancer, asthma and many hundreds of other diseases.

The seeds of chronic inflammation (and a lot of other health issues) often start with the gut. Two-thirds of the body’s defenses reside in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract — yet it is often the last place practitioners look. Intestinal bloating, frequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation, gas and pain, heartburn and acid reflux are early signs of an inflamed digestive tract. It’s not surprising that your immune system first clicks into hyperdrive in your digestive tract — it was designed to eliminate viruses and bacteria in your food before they infect your body.

Foods high in sugar, red meat, processed foods, coffee & sodas for example can spur inflammation. They cause over-activity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.

For most people, high-carb diets with abundant gluten foods are inflammatory. And conversely we’ve seen repeatedly that well-balanced low-carb diets reduce inflammation for most people. But you will need to listen to your own body and carefully observe which foods fuel inflammation for you.

There’s also a complicated interaction between the inflammatory messengers, cytokines and prostaglandins, and insulin and glucose levels. In some cases, depending on what other stressors come into play, insulin inhibits the inflammatory agents and in other cases it fuels them. The same thing is observed with cortisol released by the adrenal glands – sometimes helpful, sometimes not. Studies are currently underway to unravel the links between obesity and type 2 diabetes and this mechanism.

Something to think about: the majority of inflammatory diseases start in the gut with an autoimmune reaction which progresses into systemic inflammation. To truly be effective at managing or hopefully overcome a disease it needs to be addressed on all levels.

Chronic inflammation is one of the core causes of many health problems. But, what causes inflammation?

Inflammation is a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection.

Chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers, cardiovascular issues, arthritis problems, certain headaches, obesity, asthma, skin problems and even Alzheimer’s disease.

However, in some health conditions, the body’s defense system — the immune system — triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected or somehow abnormal.

The causes of long-standing inflammation can be related to lifestyle factors such as:

  • Junk foods, including too many sodas & sugar products, alcohol & tobacco
  • Too many grains or gluten products for some individuals
  • Poor gut health
  • Not enough high-water content food (veggies & fruits) and not drinking enough pure water
  • Anxiety & lack of sleep
  • Little or no exercise
  • Some medications
  • Sometimes things don’t work well in the body due to lifestyle and genetic issues that may contribute to chronic inflammation: Adrenal gland insufficiency & liver/kidney/lung disorders can also be contributing factors

In summation, chronic inflammation has an adverse cause/effect impact in many health disorders. Are you or a loved one dealing with pain, obesity, asthma, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid issues, dental issues, arthritis or cancer? If you answered yes to any of these disorders you are dealing with inflammation (there are hundreds of other conditions with inflammation at the core).

Sadly, most of us are suffering from one or more of these disorders but have no idea how to eliminate inflammation. Most doctors are utilizing pharmaceuticals in lieu of getting to the root cause.

Our goal at Next Step*New Life is to prevent, reduce or heal the factors in your body that perpetuate chronic inflammation – this means long-term inflammation, which can last unchecked for several months and even years. Remember that chronic inflammation is often the precursor to chronic disease.