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What Are Signs of Chronic Inflammation?

What Are Signs of Chronic Inflammation?

Nearly a decade ago, Time Magazine reported that chronic inflammation is “The Secret Killer” but many doctors still haven’t caught up. So, why should we care?

If you fall and scrape your knee, healing chemicals rush to the injury to fight potential infection. Blood vessels dilate and flood the area with water and countless chemicals from the immune system’s cells. This type of acute inflammation is a good thing and is necessary to keep you healthy.

But when inflammation continues long-term due to infection, environmental toxins, or poor diet, the results are disastrous. Chronic low-grade inflammation results from poorly functioning mitochondria as well.  In fact, chronic inflammation is present in virtually every non-communicable disease, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, osteoarthritis, MS, and more

 Low-grade, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are your worst enemies. 

 Lingering inflammation beyond 10-14 days becomes chronic inflammation which can wreak havoc in every muscle, joint, neuron, and cell in your body.

How do we identify inflammation?

Most of the medical community diagnoses inflammation by four cardinal signs; redness, swelling, heat, and pain. Unfortunately, their grasp of inflammation ends there. But chronic inflammation has been linked to arterial sclerosis since the 19th century.  

Low-grade chronic inflammation can be detected in certain lab tests:

Hemoglobin A1C

measures blood sugar levelsfor the past three months to diagnose and monitor diabetics. Elevated levels signal inflammation as the body struggles to balance glucose. An A1C of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes. In non-diabetics, A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.4% suggest prediabetes.

Homocysteine levels

excess levels of this amino acid may damage the lining of your arteries. High levels can also trigger blood clots or blood vessel blockages and raise your risk of heart attack. Abnormal levels are indicative not only of inflammation, but altered Vitamin B and folate metabolism as well.

C-reactive protein (CRP)

levels of this protein made by the liver rise with systemic inflammation. We recommend a “high-sensitivity” CRP test that detects smaller CRP spikes that can increase risk of coronary artery disease. High CRP levels are also tied to arthritis. Levels of CRP can directly track the severity of arthritic symptoms.

Uric Acid Levels

when the kidneys fail to eliminate this waste product efficiently through urine, high levels build up in the blood and may indicate kidney dysfunction, obesity, and diabetes. Excess uric acid can eventually lead to kidney stones and Gout (painful arthritis flares often in the big toe). Uric acid is a breakdown product from purine metabolism, but also of the metabolism of fructose.

Diseases are Signs of Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is the catalyst in many diseases. This is not an exhaustive list, however. Remember, chronic inflammation is the culprit in most of our non-communicable diseases. Some examples include:

Damaged joint and healthy joint

Osteoarthritis

inflammation, rather than wear and tear is more of a root cause of this malady than previously thought. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have an injury to get arthritis.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid For Diabetes Symptoms: Sugar Being Tested

Diabetes

studies show that inflammatory-causing compounds can interfere with glucose metabolization. And prolonged inflammation damages mitochondria (the organelle that turns food into energy) in the cells.

HDL Blood Test & LDL Blood Test

Metabolic syndrome

If you have this, the odds are overwhelming that you have systemic inflammation. This is diagnosed by having three or more risk factors from a group of 5 that increase the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke such as: high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, low levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, and large waist circumference with visceral fat surrounding vital organs (adipose tissue produces inflammation-causing cytokines).

Reducing Chronic Inflammation

What are the best ways to combat inflammation right away? 

  • Quality sleep of 7-9 hours per night – best done at the same time each day
  • Good diet- the Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to eat to reduce inflammation. Also smart: avoiding ultra-processed foods and added sugars
  • Minimize stress
  • Exercise (even gentle stretching, yoga, or walking daily) 

Your body has an innate ability to repair and balance itself. You can empower yourself and jumpstart healing by reducing inflammation as an important first step.

Dr. Meredith Warner Baton Rouge Orthopedic Surgeon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.

She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.

At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:

  • Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
  • Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
  • Fill the gaps in our daily diets
  • Manage pain associated with inflammation
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