If you have ever had a migraine, cut yourself or had a sore throat, you have experienced chronic inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s attempt to remove the outside stress and start the healing process. Because inflammation is part of the body’s response to injury or infection, it’s considered a helpful mechanism of the immune system. However, there is type of inflammation called chronic inflammation that is dangerous for the body and can lead to health problems such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, depression, allergies and even cancer.
What occurs is that the immune system receives a faulty distress signal and deploys an unnecessary first-aid squad. “Problem is, your body isn’t made to accommodate this kind of unfocused immune activity, and eventually those white blood cells can start damaging your internal organs,” says Women’s Health contributor Laura Beil, “They can also needlessly assault other cells the body routinely uses to push off disease, leaving the door cracked open for illnesses such as cancer.” Chronic inflammation can happen due to a virus or bacteria, an autoimmune disorder, sugary and fatty foods, or the way you handle stress. Here are a 10 ways it can be your body’s archenemy. Fortunately, you can also lower inflammation levels through lifestyle changes such as a good diet, exercise, healthy sleep patterns, and a positive attitude.
1. It Can Cause Heart Attacks
A study published in the American Journal of Pathology suggests that inflammation caused by stress, smoking, poor nutrition and physical inactivity, is a primary cause of heart attacks and strokes.
2. It Can Harm Your Gut
As Time Magazine reports, when the immune cells begin to react negatively to healthy bacteria in the gut, it creates chronic inflammation. The immune cells can attack the digestive tract itself, an autoimmune condition known as inflammatory bowel disease.
3. It Can Lead to Diabetes
When you gain weight, your fat cells begin to bulge. Confused by the extra stress, they send an SOS to your immune system. That inflammation, according to Women’s Health, can make healthy cells resistant to insulin which can cause diabetes.
4. It Can Trigger Cancer
Your body has a natural ability to fight cancer through the activity of its own tumor-suppressing genes. However, over time, environmental factors such as inflammation can “silence” these genes, allowing cancer to take hold and spread.
5. It Can Create Lung Problems
As per Health.com, when there is inflammation in the lining of the lungs, Pleurisy occurs causing pain when breathing. It can also cause scarring of the tissue in the lungs which is called Pulmonary fibrosis, and increases one’s chances of developing emphysema even in nonsmokers.
6. It Can Harm Your Joints
Inflammation in the joints can cause serious damage. A common joint-damaging condition is rheumatoid arthritis. This is autoimmune disorder appears to have a genetic component, as well as linked to smoking and a vitamin D deficiency.
7. It Can Cause Depression
Chronic inflammation can also cause depression or mood disorders since it is associated with abnormalities of neurotransmitters and hormones that can affect how a person feels.
8. It Can Narrow Blood Vessels
Vasculitis occurs when blood vessels become inflamed, narrowed and blood flow is reduced. This blocks the flow of blood in the arms, legs, and nerves, etc. and can lead to heart troubles.
9. It Can Cause Allergies and Asthma
Allergy and asthma sufferers are familiar with rhinitis (inflammation of the nose), sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), and asthma (inflammation of the airways).
10. It Can Set on Alzheimer’s Disease
Chronic inflammation destroys brain cells and gradually leads to Alzheimer’s Disease.