Normally on a Sunday you would see a post about beauty. Today I’m diverting from the norm and wanted to address something that I’ve noticed in myself recently. Inflammation.
**This post is not intended to replace professional medical diagnoses, and you should always consult with your medical professional with any concerns, changes in treatments or new symptoms.**
As with any topic that crawls inside my brain like an earwig, I wanted to do some research on it. What is inflammation? How can you treat it? And what happens if left untreated? These questions I will try to answer for you as well today.
What is inflammation? – Inflammation is a process by which your body’s white blood cells and the things they make protect you from infection from outside invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
Inflammation can be short lived, or long lived. And can be partnered with other diseases. For example:
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Gouty Arthritis
When showing symptoms of inflammation you may experience;
- A swollen joint that may be warm to the touch
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- A joint that doesn’t work as well as it should
- You can also experience cold or flu like symptoms
What causes it?
When inflammation happens, chemicals from your body’s white blood cells enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from invaders. This raises the blood flow to the area of injury or infection. It can cause redness and warmth. Some of the chemicals cause fluid to leak into your tissues, resulting in swelling. This protective process may trigger nerves and cause pain.
Your doctor will have to give you an exam, and ask about your medial history to diagnose you with inflammation. There may be little to no pain if your inflammation is associated with your organs as there are little pain receptors there. But you may be in pain if the inflammation is more in your joints. Just ask anyone with even the smallest amount of arthritis and they will be able to tell you first hand.
How can you treat inflammation?
Depending on the severity of your case, your doctor may advise for you to rest, prescribe medications, suggest regular exercise, or even surgery.
The goal of treatment are to:
- Correct, control, or slow down the disease process
- Avoid or change activities that aggravate pain
- Ease pain through pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Keep joint movement and muscle strength through physical therapy
- Lower stress on joints by using braces, splints, or canes as needed
Some medications are easily purchased over the counter, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to you as well.
But there are things you can do on your own to help reduce the inflammation in your body, such as:
- Quit smoking
- Manage stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Regular physical activity
- Limit alcohol
- Use supplements such as, willow bark, green tea, omega-3 fatty acids. Consult your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.
You can also choose to follow an anti-inflammatory diet which consists of, nuts, tomatoes, olive oil, leafy greens, fruits, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or sardines.
What happens if inflammation is left untreated?
As inflammation progresses, however, it begins to damage your arteries, organs and joints. Left unchecked, it can contribute to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, blood vessel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.
I highly encourage you all to care for your bodies, and listen to them when something isn’t right. You only have one body, take care of it and it will take care of you.
Be healthy my friends!