As inflammation in the body increases, the negative affects on health also increase. Long term, chronic inflammation can damage the body and ultimately lead to serious illness.

However, inflammation can be prevented or event reversed. So what is it and how can its damaging effects be avoided?

What is chronic inflammation?

Inflammation is a natural function of the your body’s defence mechanism. When everything is working well, inflammation is both necessary and beneficial, helping to protect and repair the body. Inflammation created when your immune system deals with harmful toxins or pathogens. This is a good thing.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a continued inflammatory response when there is no injury or invading pathogen to deal with. It is a long-term response the occurs over weeks and months and its effects are ultimately extremely detrimental.

When you sustain some form of injury such as a cut, the site of that injury is likely to be painful and will likely swell up. The skin may turn red and. Now imagine something similar happening inside your body, but without restriction to a single location – Imagine that process occurring for months.

Often, detecting chronic inflammation of the body can be tricky. It may manifest as general ill health, joint pain, skin rashes or fatigue.

What are the effects of chronic inflammation on the body?

DNA double helix

The persistent nature of chronic inflammation inevitably leads to some very unpleasant conditions, many of which pose a serious risk to the quality and length of your life.

In effect, this type of inflammation is the continuous long-term damage inflicted on your body by your body’s defences.

Conditions associated with chronic inflammation include cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases (COPD) and rheumatoid arthritis. Its damaging affects on your tissues and DNA can effectively increase the rate at which your body ages.

How can chronic inflammation be prevented or reversed?

In order to understand how chronic inflammation can be prevented, it’s necessary to understand its causes.

There are certainly a number of conditions that result in chronic inflammation, such as autoimmune disorders where, in a misguided attempt to defend you, your immune system attacks your healthy tissues. Long term exposure to chemicals or a persistent infection from a past injury can also cause chronic inflammation.

However, there are a series of factors that result from lifestyle choices that contribute to chronically inflammation and which can be addressed directly by a change in behaviour and the adoption of healthy habits.

Smoking and the consumption of alcohol can be primary causes. Surely only excessive consumption, I hear you say. Well studies have show that what constitutes excessive consumption is much less that previously thought and that the only safe level is no consumption at all. Sorry about that.

Obesity is a contributory factor, as is a lack of physical exercise.

There are some clear steps that can be taken to prevent or reverse chronic inflammation and avoid or reduce the risk of its consequences.

Omega 3 rich foods

A healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the consumption of leafy greens and the inclusion of polyphenols present in things like olive oil have been shown to have anti inflammatory effects. Fried foods, trans-fats and refined carbohydrates likely increase inflammation.

Limiting alcohol, maintaining an active lifestyle that includes daily exercise and management of your weight will also help reduce inflammation and your risks of disease.

What’s next?

Chronic inflammation is a result of the body’s immune system responding to a perceived threat the lasts for an extended period of time. There are various triggers, but chief among them are the accumulated effects of certain behaviours or poor lifestyle decisions.

The affect of the damage resulting from chronic inflammation on your body is the significant increase in risk of disease and an acceleration the ageing process,

Prevention can be managed, in many cases, by the correction of poor lifestyle choice, and you can start right now. A balanced diet, moderate regular exercise and quitting the most damaging behaviours, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, can help reverse chronic inflammation.