What is Inflammation in the Body?
There is one major disease process that causes the sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes of allergies.
There is one major disease process that causes the aching, stiffness, and degeneration of arthritic joints.
There is one major disease process that causes the spread of cancer beyond the original tumour, the pains that precede women's menstrual periods, the accumulation of fluid bloating belly fat, the gum disease that loosens teeth, and even the resistance of depression to antidepressant medications. That disease process is inflammation.
Inflammation is not just a process that causes redness, soreness, sensitivity, and pain. It is the driving force behind any kind of disease that is described as an -itis, and inflammatory processes (or an unhealthy lack of them) are involved in every kind of pathology that leads to disease.
Fighting inflammation is fundamental to good health, but as many experts fail to understand, it is actually possible to have too little inflammation. It is not a common condition, but some unfortunate individuals have taken the advice of the peddlers of nutritional supplements so literally that they actually have developed shortages of the pro-inflammatory factors that activate the immune system to fight infection and activate the clotting process to stop excessive bleeding.
Inflammation is not an inherently evil part of human physiology. It is a necessary part of human self-defense that is overactivated by modern diets and modern life. Getting the right amount of inflammation is fundamental to good health.
Just how common are diseases caused by inflammation? In the United States alone:
- Between 1 and 2 million people have chronic kidney disease.
- Between 2 and 3 million people have rheumatoid arthritis.
- Between 4 and 5 million people have cancer.
- Between 12 and 18 million people have precancerous conditions of the skin.
- Between 15 and 20 million people have asthma.
- Between 29 and 35 million people have type 2 diabetes.
- Between 48 and 56 million people have hay fever and other nasal allergies.
- Between 55 and 65 million people have high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, or have suffered a heart attack or stroke.
- Between 95 and 110 million people are prediabetic.
- Between 120 and 140 million people are obese, and
- Between 260 and 290 million people have gingivitis or tooth decay.
Acute vs Chronic Inflammation
Acute inflammation is something we all need to survive. Acute, short-term inflammation fights infection, stops bleeding, or gives us the energy to face danger. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, gradually wears down healthy tissues or short-circuits healthy processes, causing chronic disease.
We'll look at fighting excessive, chronic inflammation in two different ways. First we will look at what you can do to fight inflammation with simple changes in your diet. These changes take some planning, and some willpower, but they don't cost you any money.
Then we will look at a limited number of supplements that help your body inflammation in ways that go beyond what diet, and even medication, can do for you. Here is a brief and easy quiz to determine if you are at risk for any of the conditions that are caused by inflammation.
Inflammation and Fats
Here are some questions about your exposure to food that are high in the kinds of fats that cause inflammation. Just answer each question yes or no.
- Do you eat a stir-fried dish at a Chinese restaurant more than once a week?
- Do you eat fast food (McDonald's, Taco Bell, Burger King, Dairy Queen, and similar establishments), excluding salads, oatmeal, or fruit, more than once a week?
- Do you eat pizza more than once a week?
- Do you eat breaded fried foods such as fried chicken, chicken fried steak, or batter dipped fried fish more than once a week?
- Do you like bottle barbecued sauce on your food?
If you answer yes to more than one question—or if you indulge in all of these foods just once a week—then your diet is increasing the likelihood you will develop one of the diseases caused by inflammation.
Diet and Inflammation in the Body
Here are some questions about your diet at home that assess your risk of inflammation. Again, just answer each question yes or no.
- Do you eat prepackaged microwaveable meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks more than once a week?
- Is most of the food in your house prepared with corn, soybean, peanut, or canola oil, rather than olive, almond, or grapeseed oil?
- Do you use bottled salad dressings instead of making your own salad dressings?
- Do you add sugar to your coffee or tea?
- Do you dislike fresh vegetables?
- Do you dislike broiled or steamed fish?
- Do you eat bacon, sausage, or ham more than once a week?
- Do you use margarine instead of butter?
- Do you eat French fries more than once a week?
- Does more than half of your food come from boxes, cans, mixes, or jars, rather than made-from-scratch?
- Do you eat potatoes, tomatoes, or chili peppers every day (any one of the three)?
- Do you eat white bread, white bread, or white potatoes every day?
Again, answering yes to any of these questions is an indication that you have heightened risk for the diseases of inflammation.
What are the Symptoms of Inflammation?
Now let's consider symptoms of inflammation that may not yet be full-fledged diseases. Answer these questions yes or no.
- Do you bruise easily?
- Do you experience stiffness when you get up in the morning that eases as you go through the day, only to come back the next morning?
- Do you have blurred vision in the morning that improves once you get your morning coffee?
- Do you have stuffy nose or runny nose during allergy season or all year round?
- Do you get cuts, scratches, or scrapes that take a long time to heal?
- Do you have discolorations in your toenails or fingernails that take months to go away?
- Do you get colds frequently?
- Do you slip, fall, or bump into things frequently?
- Do you have frequent muscle aches?
- Do you have frequent back aches?
- Do you need to take a nap after a heavy meal?
Medications Used for Inflammation
Answering yes to these questions also indicates that inflammation may be a problem. Now let's consider medications that treat inflammation. Do you take:
- Willow bark
- Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, or any other cholesterol-lowering drug?
What Diseases are Caused by Inflammation
Regular use of these drugs is an absolute indication of inflammation. Finally, let's take a very brief look at your medical history. Have you ever been diagnosed with or do you now have any of the following conditions?
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Alopecia Areata
- Arsenic Intoxication
- Athlete's Foot
- Back Pain
- Barber's Itch
- Cervical Dysplasia
- Ear Infection
- Hepatitis C
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Noise Issues
- Prostate Problems
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Thyroid Problems
These are not, of course, the only health problems that are caused by inflammation. But they are the easiest health problems to address by a combination of fighting inflammation and other sensible and natural health practices. These are the health problems for which you will find reversal protocols later on this website.
The fact is, most people in the modern world suffer from inflammation. The good news about inflammation is that it is usually treatable, and the most important interventions don't require you to buy anything or to see any expert. Let's start with a look at inflammation and diet.
More About Inflammation
Fight Inflammation by Repairing Digestion - How to fight with inflammation by taking care of your digestive system. Each and every one of us hosts from 10 to 50 trillion microscopic visitors in our digestive tracts.
Fighting Inflammation with Diet - If you have done any reading about essential fatty acids, you have probably come across the principle that the human body turns omega-6 essential fatty acids into the hormones that cause inflammation, and it turns omega-3 essential fatty acids into the hormones that regulate inflammation.