Inflammation is supposed to be a good thing. It’s an immune system response that works to keep foreign invaders out of the body. Chronic inflammation, though, can lead to many health issues including chronic pain. Left unchecked, that chronic inflammation can result in chronic illness.
In this episode of Self Powered Healing, I’m talking about chronic internal inflammation: what it is, what causes it, how it shows up, and, if left unchecked, what it can lead to. As well as some tips on how to reduce it.
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In this episode of Self Powered Healing, I’m talking about inflammation. Internal inflammation, which is the root cause of most chronic illnesses. I’ll be talking about what it is, what causes it, how it shows up, and if left unchecked, what it can lead to. As well as some tips on how to reduce it.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is intended to be a good thing. It’s an immune response, usually to a foreign invader or something that system thinks is foreign. Suppose you have a bug bite or you cut your finger. You have an immune system response, which is acute inflammation. You’ll probably see redness, swelling, pain and heat. And that’s a good thing, because the body is trying to protect you from those foreign invaders.
The problem with inflammation comes in when it lead to chronic inflammation. You may not see any symptoms of that inflammation at first, but over time it will build up. And when it gets to be chronic, you might see things like increasing allergies. Maybe you’re suddenly reacting to lots of things in you’ve got skin rashes. Or like me, you’ve just got itching. Or you have chronic pain, lots of headaches, chronic fatigue, and other symptoms.
If you let it go, over time, you’ll see a lot of other things happening. You could have high blood pressure, sugar imbalances, weight gain, you might see higher cholesterol levels, etc. Left untreated chronic inflammation leads to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and all of its complications, as well as neurological disorders. such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and dementia. They all traced back to that chronic inflammation.
What Causes Chronic Inlammation
What causes that internal inflammation? Sometimes it’s a foreign invader that causes a chronic infection. Lyme disease is an example. Or it could be a leaky gut, which also allows foreign substances into the bloodstream. Stress can cause inflammation, as do the toxins in our world. And there’s others.
What can we do? How can we control that inflammation? There are no drugs at this point that are made specifically to help with chronic inflammation, though I’m sure some drug companies are probably working on that. But drugs might not be the answer since they can contribute to chronic inflammation.
We do have drugs that will treat various symptoms. You’re probably familiar with some of them, you know for high blood pressure. Sure, or Stanton’s that are prescribed to lower cholesterol, and the various drugs that they’ve come up with to treat diabetes. But they only treat the symptoms of inflammation, not the cause.
I had a conversation last week with my doctor about this subject. She agreed is likely that chronic inflammation as a part of my problem, but she didn’t have answers on how to reduce it. So what can we do?
There are many things we can do to reduce our chronic inflammation. They all come down to making changes in food or lifestyle. But to get you started, here are three simple things you can do today. Do these regularly to help curb that inflammation.
Three Things That Help Chronic Inflammation
Number one: Drink water. I know I see your eyes rolling there. I know you’ve heard this 100,000 times but you know, maybe there’s something to it. Water helps flush out toxins. Our bodies are 70% water and everything we have needs water to work well. And it needs plain water, nothing added. If you’re drinking coffee or soda or some other caffeinated drink, your body has to flush out the caffeine and the sugar. And once it’s done with that, it still needs the water it needed in the first place.
Start by swapping just one beverage a day with water and see how your body reacts. And then maybe do it with a second and a third, you might find like I did, that you’ve actually been dehydrated for a long time.
Number two: Reduce stress. Oops, I promise simple, didn’t I? Stress is always a problem for me, but I keep working on it. But you know there are simple things we can do to help. One is to breathe. I know we breathe all the time, but I’m talking about paying attention to your breathing, paying attention to your breath. If you like you can call it mindful breathing. It’s good at anytime, but especially when you’re stressed.
Here it is, a simple exercise takes under five minutes, I promise.
- Start by closing your eyes. So if you’re driving right now, don’t do that one. Do it when you’re not driving, just close your eyes.
- Take four or five deep breaths. So take it in and let it out. Do it four or five times.
- Next, just breathe normally for two or three minutes, and pay attention to your breath. And only to your breath, try to ignore all those thoughts that want to show up.
I know it’s tricky and hard but work on it and if you do that or you try to do it, especially if you’re feeling stressed. Just take a moment to focus and breathe and see how it calms you.
Number three is to move, not exercise, or you can call it that if you like. But find a movement that you like and just do it. Maybe you like to walk or to dance or maybe you’re a runner, or maybe you just like to do jumping jacks. Take a movement that you like, and two or three if you want and put them together and do a little of it for maybe five minutes. Just start there. It will get your blood pumping and your lymphatic system working and help flush toxins out of your system. And I always find I feel good when I move. When you can, do it for longer periods of time. Ideally, it would be 30 minutes a day for several days a week. Build up to it. And if you can’t do 30 minutes all together and do 10 minutes at a time, so good.
For myself, I’m on a personal quest to quell my chronic inflammation. I talked with my doctor and she’s 100% behind me, but she wasn’t really able to provide me much in the way of resources. So I’m doing my own research and who knows, perhaps someday soon I’ll be the resource for her other patients.
My approach is a little different because not only do I want to have an anti inflammatory diet, but I also need to work on the bone health because of arthritis issues and bone density problems. I need an approach that helps it all. I’m also very much a whole Foods type of girl. I don’t mean the grocery store. I’m talking about foods as nature intended them unprocessed, nothing else added. So that has to be a part of whatever I do with my changes. And it’s not all food for me. I’ll be making some other changes as well, my own movement plans. I’ll be making lots of notes on what I do and I’ll be updating my progress on this podcast. I hope you stay tuned.