Inflammation is the immune system’s response to harmful stimuli eg. pathogens, damaged cells, toxic compounds, or irradiation, and acts by removing injurious stimuli and initiating the healing process. This helps in restoration of tissue homeostasis
Inflammation is often insidious in onset and begins without an apparent cause. A few triggers are:
• Ciggarette smoke
• Pollutants in our air
• Water or food
• Our gut microbiomes
• In mental cues like stress
• Autoimmune disorders: The immune system mistakenly attacks normal healthy tissue, as in psoriasis.
Factors that may increase the risk of inflammation include:
• older age
• a diet that is rich in unhealthful fats and added sugar
• low sex hormones
• Insufficient sleep
When to seek medical help
Many individuals don’t know they have chronic inflammation until they’re diagnosed with another condition. If you feel like you’re experiencing some of the common symptoms of chronic inflammation, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor. They’ll know the first steps to take when it comes to a diagnosis.
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter NSAIDs, like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, effectively reduce inflammation and pain
Steroids. Corticosteroids are a type of steroid hormone. They reduce inflammation however it’s important to consult your doctor before taking them.
Supplements like fish oil and curcumin have all been linked to decreased inflammation — although more studies need to be done, especially around fish oil, to say for sure. Several spices like ginger, garlic, and cayenne also reduce inflammation
Lifestyle changes. Losing weight (if your doctor recommends it), increasing physical activity, and dietary changes (like a low glycemic diet and reduced saturated fat intake), have all been shown to help lower inflammation.
A physical therapist will emphasize on diet and lifestyle modification (weight loss, regular exercises, smoking cessation, healthy diet, and good sleep hygiene)
• Physical Exercise: It is shown that energy expenditure through exercise lowers multiple pro-inflammatory molecules and cytokines independently of weight loss.
• Avoiding smoking and alcohol and reducing stress levels.
• Foods with antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties: olive oil; leafy greens, such as kale and spinach; tomatoes; fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel; nuts; fruits, especially cherries, blueberries, and oranges
• The Mediterranean diet has been found in studies to lower markers of inflammation