Inflammation is the process by which the immune system protects the body from invading bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. The purpose also is to remove harmful stimuli such as irritants, pathogens, and damaged cells. In the cases of traumatic injury, inflammation actually works to help wounds heal.
The two common types of inflammation are acute and chronic. Acute inflammation occurs rapidly. Signs are only present for a few days or weeks. Acute inflammation is a response to specific infections or wounds. Chronic inflammation, however, is the same process when it lasts for several months or more. There are a number of possible reasons for chronic inflammation, including failure to eliminate the original cause, an autoimmune response to healthy tissue, and chronic low-intensity irritants or infections.
When chronic inflammation continues for a long period of time it can become a problematic, even dangerous condition. That’s why we at LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition work with our patients to help control inflammation through a unique, “whole-person” approach.
Signs and Symptoms of Inflammation
The word inflammation comes from the Latin root meaning to “burn” or “ignite.” The five classic signs of acute inflammation are pain, redness, immobility, swelling, and heat.
The signs of chronic inflammation, however, may be more difficult to notice. These often include but are not limited to:
- Ongoing irritation and pain
- High blood sugar
- Bowel problems
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Skin problems
- Red, bloodshot eyes
- Abnormal labs
Causes of Inflammation
Acute inflammation is a response to a specific injury or illness. It lasts a few days or weeks. Common causes of acute inflammation are injury and infection. Chronic inflammation, however, does not stop after a few days or weeks but keeps going for months or even years, potentially damaging healthy tissue in the process. Common causes of chronic inflammation include:
- Non-degradable pathogens
- Certain viral infections
- Persistent foreign bodies
- Overactive immune system responses
Treatment of Chronic Inflammation
At LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition we treat patients who suffer from inflammation due to chronic medical conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, coronary disease, atherosclerosis, joint pain, colitis, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disorders, and more. We do this through lifestyle modification, use of herbs and medicinal foods, identifying food sensitivities, toxic burden from heavy metals, environmental factors, and stealth (hidden) infections.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is chronic inflammation bad for you?
A: While acute inflammation is a useful process performed by the body to fight injury and infection, chronic inflammation can have a variety of negative effects. These include the destruction of healthy tissue, thickening or scarring of connective tissue, the death of cells or tissue, and more.
Q: What is the connection between sleep and inflammation?
A: While the exact connection is unknown, scientists have found that sleep deprivation or poor quality of sleep can raise the risk of chronic inflammation.
Q: How do I know if I have chronic inflammation?
A: We at LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition combine the knowledge of Western and traditional medicine to diagnose and treat chronic inflammation. The best way to determine if you suffer from this condition is to come in for an assessment with our doctors. Some of the more visible signs of chronic inflammation, however, include heart disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune disease.
Q: Who is at the greatest risk for inflammation and what can I do to control it?
A: Ultimately, the goal of inflammation control is to return to and maintain the normal balance of inflammation. The best ways to do this are through diet, exercise, and supplementation. Staying in good health and eating right while avoiding obesity and smoking are among the best ways to reduce chronic inflammation.
Contact a Los Angeles Inflammation Expert
Are you suffering from fatigue? Chronic pain? Bowel problems? The source of your problem might actually be inflammation within your body. You may call us at (310) 289-8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
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