Chronic Inflammation – Causes, Risks, And Treatment

You’d have probably heard of inflammation and read about it several times while going through any health-related information. If you suffer from chronic pain, it is very much likely that you have inflammation. In fact, several health conditions may have inflammation as a contributing factor as per science. From arthritis to cancer, inflammation plays a major role in adversely affecting your health. But is it always harmful? Or is there any such thing as ‘good’ inflammation?

Acute Inflammation and Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is basically healthy. It is a normal response of your immune system which is triggered when pathogens, toxins, etc. attack your body. When you get an infection or an injury, your body heals itself through inflammation which involves fighting the agents that are harming it. For this purpose, it releases chemicals when your immune system signals it to.

These chemicals comprise of antibodies and proteins. Blood flow to the area that is being attacked is also increased. This entire process is called acute inflammation which lasts for a few hours or days. However, when acute inflammation doesn’t halt and keeps lingering, this puts your body on high alert. As time passes, acute inflammation becomes chronic inflammation. This is the negative type of inflammation that can damage your tissues and organs.

Acute inflammation and chronic inflammation have a noticeable difference. You can recognize acute inflammation by signs such as swelling, redness, and pain. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can be difficult to notice because of its sneakier, subtler symptoms. These include fatigue, abdominal pain, chest pain, fever, etc. Chronic inflammation can be mild or severe. It can last for months or even years depending on its cause.

Causes Behind Chronic Inflammation

Sometimes there is an obvious underlying cause behind chronic inflammation while other times there may not be a clear reason. Among the many causes that can be behind it some include an untreated infection or injury, an autoimmune disorder, or exposure to chemicals, pollution or other irritants over the long-term. In case of an autoimmune disorder, your body attacks healthy tissue by mistaking it for a threat. Sometimes obesity and chronic stress can also cause chronic inflammation.

Risks And Treatment

Chronic inflammation can harm cells, tissues, and organs which can lead to greater damage. This, in turn, can cause the development of diseases such cancer, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes among other concerns. Chronic inflammation can also lead to neurodegenerative diseases. To combat chronic inflammation, its underlying causes needs to be addressed.

Some ways you can treat it include taking over-the-counter NSAIDS such as aspirin and ibuprofen. You can also take certain steroids for the purpose. However, both of these options cannot be relied on for a long period of time. You can also take supplements such as those of fish oil and curcumin. What’s more, some spices like cayenne, ginger, garlic can fight inflammation.