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How Inflammation Affects Your Health

Is inflammation always a bad thing? No! In fact, inflammation is how your body heals itself after an injury. Still, sometimes inflammation does more harm than good.

Is inflammation affecting your health, creating problems instead of prompting healing? Chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, and it could be affecting you.

Inflammation Affects Your Health

It’s Part of the Body’s Natural Healing Response

After an injury, your immune system kicks into gear. It jump-starts an inflammatory response, sending extra white blood cells, plasma proteins and more to the affected area. Whether your body is working to defeat a virus or heal a sprained ankle, acute inflammation helps remove harmful stimuli. Without inflammation, your body wouldn’t be able to repair itself.

An inflammatory response is vital to good health, but when inflammation doesn’t recede after healing, it can cause damage.

When it Turns Chronic, it’s Linked to Negative Health Conditions

Chronic inflammation is different than acute inflammation. If the underlying cause of the initial acute inflammatory response was never resolved, the inflammation may remain. Chronic inflammation can also arise from an autoimmune disorder. This is when the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body, misidentifying them as harmful.

Many diseases are linked to chronic inflammation, though it remains unclear whether the presence of an inflammatory response causes the conditions or is a side effect of these diseases. People with lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and asthma are likely to suffer from chronic inflammation, as well as countless additional autoimmune diseases.

What You Eat Affects Your Body’s Inflammatory Response

You might not have control over your body’s inflammatory response, especially if it’s related to an autoimmune disorder. However, you do have control over what you eat, and what you feed your body can either fuel or calm your natural inflammatory response.

An anti-inflammatory diet consists of foods that have plenty of natural fat, protein and fiber. For example, the Mediterranean diet, which consists of fish, nuts, olive oil and dark leafy greens, has been proven to have positive results.

What Else Can You Do?

By getting plenty of quality rest and limiting stress in your life, you can naturally reduce inflammation in the body. Regular exercise is also key. People who are overweight are at a higher risk of a chronic inflammatory response. Build a lifestyle that includes healthy meals, exercise designed for weight loss and relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing.

Treatment Options for You

Talk to your doctor if you have chronic inflammation. At Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center, we help identify the signs of chronic inflammation and we offer a range of treatments to help, such as anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and limit the progression of disease, as well as help you make changes to live a better life.

Dyanne Tappin, MD
Dr. Tappin is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology. During her studies, she served as a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic, and as a fellow for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

Dr. Tappin has a special interest in: well woman care, normal and high risk pregnancy, contraception, menopause management, and integrative medicine.

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