Chronic inflammation isn’t just painful: if left untreated, it can lead to serious problems with your health.
In fact, diseases associated with chronic inflammation are the most prevalent cause of death in the world. While these cases can vary in levels of severity, seeking treatment is always an important next step to take.
To put yourself in the best position to control it, spotting the signs of chronic inflammation early is key. Keep reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is what occurs when the body falsely recognizes a threat within its own cells or tissue. This triggers the body’s natural immune response, which is designed to help fight injury and infection.
Typically, when the body finds an injury or an infection, it naturally swells (or becomes inflamed). This helps signal the immune system’s response, allowing it to begin repairing and healing the damaged tissue. Inflammation is an essential part of the healing process: without it, wounds would fester and infections would eventually take over and become deadly.
When that natural inflammatory response goes on where it isn’t needed, however, it can quickly become a problem. There are a number of deadly diseases associated with chronic inflammation, so it’s important to address them when it starts.
Signs of Chronic Inflammation
The signs of chronic inflammation can be somewhat tricky to notice, as they could be indicative of other health conditions. If you’re noticing any of the following symptoms, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor to determine whether they are being caused by chronic inflammation.
- Skin Blemishes/Rashes
Skin issues can be one of the most prominent signs of chronic inflammation. For example, skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema are both inflammatory responses that lead to flaky, rough, red patches of skin. These are caused by the extreme sensitivity of the immune system, leading the body to attack its own healthy skin cells.
- Low Energy Levels
If you’re always feeling fatigued, even after a solid night’s rest, chronic inflammation could be to blame. This is because your body is constantly in its heightened immune response phase, depleting your energy stores.
For some perspective, imagine how you feel when you’re sick. You’re constantly worn out and tired while your body fights the infection. When this keeps happening despite no real illness, you’ll still feel tired and you won’t know why.
Chronic inflammation also increases the cellular energy required to regenerate immune system cells, which uses even more of your stored energy. As a result, you won’t have the fuel required in order to feel healthy and energized.
- Digestive Issues
Another major sign of chronic inflammation is having issues with your digestive health. These can include stomach pains, bloating, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea.
A common cause of this is leaky gut syndrome, which is characterized by permeable intestines that allow bacteria and toxins to leak into the rest of the body. Chronic inflammation can contribute to this condition and cause serious digestive discomfort.
- General Aches and Pains
When the body is chronically inflamed, this swelling can lead to discomfort in the muscles and joints. This is because the inflammation can attack the tissue that forms the joints and muscles, resulting in intense redness, pain, swelling, and discomfort.
- Heavy Mucus Production
When your mucus membranes are inflamed, this triggers excessive mucus production in order to protect the lining of the respiratory system. Symptoms associated with this include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, or phlegm in the throat. If you’re experiencing these symptoms with no discernable virus or illness, it could be a sign that you have chronic inflammation.
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
When the lymph nodes are swollen, this is a telltale sign that something is happening with the immune system. It may be fighting a virus or bacterial infection, for example. However, if you’re constantly experiencing lymph node swelling when you’re not sick, it could mean chronic inflammation.
- Eye Discomfort
If your eyes are especially dry, or if you experience burning or stinging, this could be indicative of an inflammatory condition. You might also experience blurred vision, swollen eyelids, sensitivity to light, or problems wearing contact lenses.
Causes of Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is linked to a variety of causes, including certain medical conditions or lifestyle choices. Stress is also a major risk factor as well.
When left untreated, chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of diseases, including:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
If you are interested in seeking treatment for conditions causing chronic inflammation, you may be able to do so without a face-to-face medical visit. For further details, you can see more here.
How to Treat Chronic Inflammation
While certain cases of chronic inflammation may be linked to medical conditions, a common cause is a lack of proper diet and exercise. This is why one of the most effective ways to address issues with chronic inflammation is by taking better care of your health.
Here are a few ways to improve chronic inflammation:
- Exercise regularly
- Limit foods that contribute to inflammation, such as dairy, processed foods, and trans fats
- Manage your stress levels
- Avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates
- Maintain a healthy body weight
By taking excellent care of your body and health, you can reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of chronic inflammation. With a few important lifestyle changes, you can help control inflammation and prevent disease.
Fighting Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can seriously affect your quality of life. If left untreated, it may even lead to a number of diseases and other chronic illnesses. Now that you know some of the telltale signs of chronic inflammation, you’ll be better prepared to combat the condition and live a healthier life.
For more health & fitness, check out our other articles.