Since autoimmune diseases have been on the rise in the US and other western countries, people have been discussing the issue of chronic inflammation and its role in causing chronic diseases. While you might experience inflammation from an injury or any other temporary damage to the body, chronic inflammation is when your immune system senses something isn’t right and becomes confused, ultimately attacking itself. Identifying chronic inflammation before it leads to a chronic disease is key. Here are five signs of chronic inflammation and what you can do about it to stay healthy.
One of the main signs of chronic inflammation is body pain, especially in the joints. This can often lead to disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and issues where healthy tissue attacks itself.
One of the most common signs of chronic inflammation shows up on the skin. You might have eczema or psoriasis, or general puffiness. Your skin might also be red and blotchy. Studies show that there is a link between psoriasis and inflammatory conditions that manifest internally, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Low energy despite sufficient sleep
Constant fatigue and low energy levels despite sufficient sleep is a sure sign of chronic inflammation. It means your body isn’t properly recuperating. Inflamed cells are sick cells, and they can’t produce the energy you need to feel refreshed and invigorated.
Chronic inflammation can also affect your digestion, leading to complications like gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. These issues can stem from a sick, overly permeable gut.
You’re depressed, anxious, or suffering “brain fog”
Inflammation can affect your brain chemistry, which changes how you think and feel. Fluctuating hormones, insomnia, stress, and poor nutrition can also cause a hazy head—and each of these factors is individually associated with inflammatory responses.
How to heal chronic inflammation
Your doctor can diagnose chronic inflammation through blood tests. These tests include a white blood cell count, sedimentation rate (ESR), and high sensitivity c-reactive protein. While these tests don’t tell us where the inflammation is coming from, they are great indicators that you need to find the source.
The best way to heal yourself and prevent further damage is to maintain healthy practices like eating well and exercising. In particular, eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, colorful veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Be sure to avoid common inflammatory foods like dairy, sugar, processed foods, and simple carbohydrates. You can also try an elimination diet, where you can figure out the foods that cause reactions. Supplements like fish oil and probiotics have also shown great healing and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. As far as exercise, moderate intensity exercise has been shown to improve immune function and reduce inflammation. On the opposite end, high-intensity exercise has been shown to be hard on the immune system. Practicing these healthy habits can minimize your chronic inflammation and help prevent it from progressing.