Acute Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection. It’s normally short in duration and it recedes as the body heals. The purpose of acute inflammation is to aid the body in healing.
When the body is injured, inflammation helps to improve the blood flow to the area generally resulting in redness, warmth and or swelling. The cells and nerves then send out signaling molecules called “inflammatory cytokines” to the immune system to attract white blood cells and aid in the healing process. As the healing progresses, “anti-inflammatory cytokines” are produced to turn off the inflammation process once the body has healed. Overall, acute inflammation helps by increasing the blood flow and immune response which then heals damaged cells, removes infection and to protects the body during the healing process.
Chronic Inflammation is consistent, low grade or systematic. Scientists believe that it’s caused by faulty signaling to the immune system resulting in an unorganized white blood cell response. Since there’s not an injury to be healed, the white blood cells become confused and begin to attack healthy organs and tissue. Over time, chronic inflammation can cause significant damage to the body and can be an underlying cause of disease or significantly impact existing diseases such as:
There are several different ways to reduce acute or chronic inflammation.
Prescription medication can offer a short term solution in cases where immediate relief is needed however over the long term they may have harmful side effects. With prolonged use some medications can cause liver damage, stomach ulceration and perforation, gastrointestinal hemorrhage and increased risk of stroke.
The Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables and olive oil may reduce inflammation.
Exercising moderately, 45 – 60 minutes a day, helps reduce inflammation by shrinking fat cells.
Supplements of Black Tea extract, N Acetyl Cysteine, Curcumin and Resveratrol have been shown to help reduce inflammation without the long term side effects of prescription medicines.
An ecological approach towards treatment will consider the all of the treatment options and weigh the risk verses benefits based on your personal circumstances. This is key to optimizing a positive outcome.
Chronic inflammation can go unnoticed for many years but by taking preventative measures now to reduce inflammation it can help keep you much healthier in the long run and it can help by reducing or eliminating your changes of contracting some serious diseases later in life.
References: Research Nutritionals- Promote Healthy Cytokine Response- Women’s Health Magazine