Inflammation has now become a big buzzword in the health and wellness world. Inflammation is a mechanism of the body to signal that something is making the body sick or unwell. After receiving the signal, the body begins the healing process.
The inflammatory period in the healing process can last several days. A cut or scrape is a good example of acute inflammation of bodily tissues. When a cut of the skin occurs, white blood cells are attracted to the area through chemical signals, because fluid from blood vessels leaks and subsequently triggers the signs of acute inflammation and injury—redness, swelling, and warmth. The injury also triggers local nerve cells which send pain to the spinal cord and brain. Injuries can also trigger immune cells, causing other symptoms, such as fever. At the end of the inflammatory period, monocyte cells arrive and clean up dead cells as well as foreign matter at the injury site.
Chronic Inflammation or Deep Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a medical theory that suggests injuries are happening deep within our bodies. There is an offending substance damaging tissues, but these tissues are not around nerve cells that send profound pain signals to the spinal column or brain. Even though the insulting substances are harmful, their direct effects on the body’s internal systems are more subtle resulting in feelings such as discomfort.
Chronic inflammation is sometimes also called long-term inflammation and can last for several months and even years. Reasons the body develops chronic inflammation are:
under-immunity or failure to eliminate an offense which caused acute inflammation
over-immunity—AKA an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune conditions are when the immune system attacks normal healthy tissue, mistaking it for a pathogen that causes disease.
exposure to a low-level of an environmental irritant or toxin, such as an industrial chemical, over a long period
Common Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
A concerning fact about chronic inflammation is the signals your inflamed internal organ is sending the neurological system. Many inflammatory problems begin in the gut. It’s no surprise that an inflamed small intestine—where most of the action takes place—results in bloating, flatulence, and sometimes a burning sensation.
Fatigue is, surprisingly, also a symptom of deep or chronic inflammation. Fatigue as a by-product of inflammation makes sense: bodily systems that are not functioning properly would clearly make a whole body tired.
Depression is also a symptom of chronic or deep inflammation. New studies show that the release of cytokines produces similar effects to the classic depression definition. Being sick is not fun. It’s easy to experience disrupted sleep, depressed mood, fatigue, foggy-headedness, and impaired concentration.
Autoimmunity and Immunity—a Delicate Balance
The body is always wavering between an immune system that does not produce a strong enough response to infection or produces an overactive response. A common scenario of under-immunity and chronic inflammation is gut infections. Repeated gut infections are hard on the body. The immune system is tirelessly working to fight off the infection which results in that organ becoming inflamed over a long period of time—(not to mention the bad bacteria replacing the good bacteria.) The result—perhaps fatigue and stomach discomfort.
Autoimmunity is when the body has an overactive immune system and mistakes healthy tissues for pathogenic properties.Scientists are beginning to think that environmental influences are causing autoimmunity. Of course, genetics are not ruled out as well. When an autoimmune body attacks its own systems, the result is a flare that can last anywhere between a couple of days to even a month.
Disease Manifestations of Inflammation
Inflammation is in many ways a wonderful mechanism of the body. It tells the body it’s sick. Chronic inflammation, however, can wreak havoc on the body.
Studies have shown that inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis not only causes joint pain but, also, joint damage and bone damage.
Inflammation in bodily tissues results in other damage or illnesses in the body, including:
Type 2 Diabetes