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What is chronic inflammation?

2023-08-24T16:19:06+00:00
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What is chronic inflammation (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • What is chronic inflammation?
  • Learn the symptoms.
  • Get to know the risk factors.

Inflammation is a normal physiological response to an injury or irritation.

This process begins when your body releases substances to counter bacteria, allergens or other irritants.

White blood cells make substances that cause cells to divide and grow to rebuild tissue to help repair the injury.

After the wound heals, the inflammatory process should come to an end.

What is chronic inflammation?

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On the other hand, chronic inflammation occurs when this response continues even without any injury or irritation.

It’s often unclear what is causing your body to continue reacting.

Chronic inflammation can be caused by infections that do not go away or by abnormal immune reactions.

As time passes, this can cause cell damage and can even lead to cancer, so it’s important to address it.

What is chronic inflammation? Symptoms and consequences

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While the symptoms of acute inflammation are pain and swelling, those of chronic inflammation are more subtle and harder to recognize.

These symptoms can affect several tissues at the same time. It is also known as low grade inflammation.

Symptoms include pain, constant fatigue, insomnia, frequent infections, depression, anxiety and mood disorders.

Other symptoms can be gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, weight gain, rashes, fever and mouth ulcers.

How to treat chronic inflammation

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It is said that inflammation is at the root of most diseases and it accelerates aging.

Eventually, it can damage healthy cells, tissues and organs, thus affecting different systems.

What is chronic inflammation linked to? Many diseases could stem from this issue.

Diabetes, obesity, stress and depression, loss of muscle mass, kidney disease and osteoporosis are among them.

What causes this condition?

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Chronic inflammation can be caused by different factors — for example, certain medications.

Other factors include exposure to toxins that the body cannot easily eliminate, and recurrent or untreated episodes of acute inflammation.

On the other hand, over the years an increase in inflammatory cytokines is sometimes observed without an associated disease.

Due to this, as we age, tissues accumulate oxidative damage and dysfunction in the mitochondria, losing their regenerative capacity.

What is chronic inflammation? Diet

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Diet is another factor that can cause chronic inflammation.

Consuming too many calories, saturated fats and a high glycemic load are associated with chronic inflammation.

A sedentary lifestyle contributes to this and other associated conditions. Sitting for a long time is very bad for your health.

Smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as physical and psychological stress, not counting sleep disturbance, also play a role.

Diagnosing chronic inflammation

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Finally, it should be noted that there is no single test that can diagnose chronic inflammation.

Depending on the symptoms, a doctor will perform different tests to establish a diagnosis.

Some markers that show up in blood tests can be an indicator, but they aren’t definitive.

These markers include Homocysteine, TNF-α, IL-6, and C-reactive protein.

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