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What is chronic inflammation?

🌱It's a bit of a buzzword these days, but the science around the effects of chronic low grade inflammation on health is very real 🌱Inflammation can be acute or chronic: - acute inflammation is how your body fights off infection or repairs tissue damage, such as wounds -this is meant to be a short intense reaction, that stops when the body heals -in chronic inflammation, this reaction fails to 'switch off' and the inflammatory process continues at a low level for years

🌱There has been a massive rise worldwide in rates of chronic inflammation, with lifestyle factors playing a big part 🌱Highly processed excess calorie diets, a sedentary society, chronic sleep deprivation, chronic stress, social isolation, obesity, and environmental toxins all contribute 🌱Symptoms can be vague, from rashes and joint pains, to a general feeling of fatigue or gut issues 🌱It's extremely important to visit your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms, in order to rule out more serious causes, as they can indicate underlying disease 🌱But if tests come back OK, what then? 🌱The main test used for inflammation is a CRP level, some doctors also test homocysteine 🌱A mildly raised CRP (usually between 5 and 15) is typical of chronic inflammation - often in conjunction with high LDL and triglyceride cholesterol, high Hba1c (blood sugar), and mildly elevated liver function tests ( indicating fat deposits in the liver)

🌱Chronic inflammation has been linked with developing multiple diseases - in particular heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, mental health issues, autoimmune conditions, cancers, and reduced life span 🌱The good news is its also often highly reversible!

🌱Evidence based ways to reduce chronic inflammation include - eating an 'anti-inflammatory diet' - improving gut health - prioritising sleep - reducing stress - regular exercise - reducing exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke, excess alcohol, and environmental pollution - spending time in nature - staying connected with others

🌱I've covered these areas in more detail in other posts, but let me know in the comments if you need more info on any!!

🌱Supplements that may help inflammation include omega 3, curcumin, and lipoic acid. Spices that can help include ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Trying to include a big variety of spices including these ones, and aiming to reduce inflammation through diet and lifestyle is the main focus. Supplements can be worth trialling if symptoms persist despite lifestyle changes 😊

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