Don’t Be Sore: Helpful Steps that Could Help Overcome InflammationSubmitted by Bernhardt Wealth Management on May 20th, 2019
There is evidence that more people are suffering from inflammatory health complaints than in the past. For example, Google searches related to “inflammation” are up around 300% over the last fifteen years. Additionally, some of the conditions that may be related to certain types of inflammatory disease seem to be on the rise. But if you suffer from chronic or frequent inflammation of some type, don’t lose heart: there are some steps you can take to help yourself, even without medication, in some cases.
Inflammation is actually a somewhat vague term, healthwise. According to WebMD, inflammation occurs when “the body’s white blood cells and the substances they produce” are triggered in order to “protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.” In other words, inflammation is a natural part of the body’s amazing ability to heal itself. The name of many immune conditions ends in “-itis,” as in, “tonsillitis,” “gingivitis,” “dermatitis,” and so on. When you get strep and you see those white patches in the back of your throat or on your tonsils, that’s evidence of your white blood cells attacking the strep bacteria. The soreness you feel is partly a result of chemicals released into your tissues from the white cells as they attempt to isolate and eliminate the infection. Typically, the inflamed area becomes swollen, red, warm, and sore as the body increases blood flow to the affected area in order to help carry off the carnage of the battle between the white blood cells and the cause of the infection.
But sometimes the body’s inflammation response is less helpful. Sometimes the immune response and the onslaught of white blood cells is triggered even though there is no apparent invasion of foreign organisms. Certain types of arthritis, for example, are caused by inflammation of the joints, as the body’s immune response triggers an “attack” on the joint, even though there are no pathogens present. Crohn’s Disease is indicated by extreme inflammation of the bowel, also caused by the immune system. Lupus is a very severe autoimmune disease. These types of diseases typically result in chronic inflammation, which has also been associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, respiratory diseases, and even Alzheimer’s. Clearly, chronic inflammation is a serious problem and, if the Google searches are any indication, it’s becoming more common.
Current research may indicate links between stress and chronic inflammation. Smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol use, and sedentary lifestyles may also contribute. Do any of these sound familiar?
It makes sense, then, that decreasing stress can help reduce your risk of chronic inflammation. Getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and even mental/spiritual disciplines like meditation can help. Brush your teeth and floss regularly to avoid gingivitis (gum disease), which has been linked to both heart attack and stroke. A diet emphasizing green, leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, fiber, and fish oil (especially salmon) may have anti-inflammatory properties.
Especially for those entering the retirement years, healthy lifestyle choices are important, including those that can reduce the risk of chronic inflammation. But even for younger folks in the midst of thriving careers, some time spent now in making healthy choices can pay big dividends in future years: a healthier body, a less stressed, anxious mind, and a more positive general outlook for an enjoyable future.