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What Does Inflammation Actually Do to The Body? Effects of Inflammation

Posted on June 04, 2024

Inflammation is one of the most common health terms thrown around nowadays. However, few people actually understand what inflammation is and what inflammation actually does to the body. 

In reality, there are two types of inflammation – acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is generally what people are referring to when they speak about inflammation.

So what exactly is inflammation and how does inflammation actually affect the body?

What Exactly is Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic inflammation refers to a condition where your body continues sending inflammatory cells to your body, even when there is no danger. For example, take rheumatoid arthritis – one of the most common chronic inflammatory conditions.

When rheumatoid arthritis develops, inflammatory cells and substances attack joint issues. This leads to severe inflammation and causes severe damage to your joints. It can cause swelling, pain, redness, and lack of mobility.

Other conditions associated with chronic inflammation include autoimmune diseases like lupus, gastrointestinal diseases like Chron’s disease, and metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

What Does Inflammation Actually Do to The Body?

Chronic inflammation, when left unaddressed can cause severe damage to otherwise healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Inflammation can cause internal scarring and even tissue death and damage to the DNA in healthy cells.

Ultimately, chronic inflammation can lead to the development of severe diseases or life-threatening illnesses such as type-2 diabetes, certain cancers, gastrointestinal issues, and much more.

Thankfully, the human body will alert us when chronic inflammation is present. Signs of chronic inflammation include:

  • Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, or constant fatigue
  • Weight gain or unexplained weight loss
  • Skin rashes or frequent fungal infections
  • Mood disorders such as depression or anxiety
  • Body discomfort such as joint stiffness, tendonitis, and muscle pain 

Should You See a Doctor About Inflammation?

Some inflammation can be treated on its’ own. For example, simple NSAID use and an anti-inflammatory diet can be enough to relieve minor acute inflammation. However, chronic inflammation is more serious and needs to be addressed immediately.

If inflammation is wreaking havoc on your daily life, then it is essential you speak to your doctor about what is ailing you. Your doctor should be able to come up with a treatment plan comprise of one, or many of the following treatment methods listed below. 

What Can Be Done About Chronic Inflammation?

Thankfully, we know a lot about chronic inflammation and its’ effects on the body. Generally speaking, your doctor will recommend one of the following treatment methods for chronic inflammation:

  • NSAIDS, which are available over the counter or by prescription. Think ibuprofen, naproxen sodium.
  • Vitamins and minerals (generally when a deficiency is present)
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes: Limiting alcohol and tobacco use, improving sleep, and eating a healthier diet can all contribute to limiting inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid shots, which are effective at targeting specific problem areas with chronic inflammation, like shoulder joints.
  • Supplements: Some supplements like turmeric and moringa have been consumed for their anti-inflammatory benefits for centuries.

To see a full list of natural supplements, see the best herbal supplements for inflammation.