We have been known to live in the information age, but it maybe true that we also live in the inflammation age. What is inflammation? Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it. Your body is constantly fight such thing as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to stay healthy. When something damages the cells, our body releases chemicals that trigger an immune response. This response includes the release of antibodies and proteins, as well as increased blood flow to the damaged area.
The whole process may last for a few hours or days in the case of acute inflammation.
Most of the time, you don't need to worry too much about acute inflammation. Many people find relief in an over-the-counter pain reliever, or apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. Many times it may be best to let the inflammation do its work to help with healing. Acute inflammation may be trying to tell you something though. It maybe warning you about chronic inflammation which is much more serious for the most part.
Chronic inflammation happens when this response lingers, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Over time this has a negative impact on the body.
Researchers are finding that chronic inflammation could also play a major role in all kinds of health conditions, from asthma to cancer.
Treatment for inflammatory diseases vary. Some of these may include medications , rest, exercise , and surgery to correct joint damage . Your treatment plan will depend on several things, including your type of disease, your age, the medications you’re taking, your overall health, and how severe the symptoms are.
The goal in treating inflammation is to control, slow down or if possible to correct the inflammation going in our bodies. Doctors may provide medications to reduce the inflammation and or use pain medications to help individuals cope with the pain.
There are supplements that some people use that have given positive results. Some of these include omega-3 fatty acids, white willow bark, curcumin, green tea , or capsaicin. Vitamins and minerals like magnesium, B6, C, D, and E also have some anti-inflammatory properties.
Surgery is a Consideration
Surgery is another option for inflammation in severely damaged joints. Some of the more common surgeries include Arthroscopy where the doctor makes a few small cuts around the affected joint. Synovectomy were part of the lining of the joint (called the synovium) is removed and there is Arthrodesis were pins or plates permanently fuse bones together. Finally there is joint replacement. Doctor replace a damaged joint with an artificial one made of metal, plastic, or ceramic.
I personally believe you can control and even reverse inflammation. How? By simply establishing a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Before you make lifestyle changes you may want to speak to your health care practitioner. This would be especially true if you have a family history of health problems, likes heart disease or colon cancer.
So what should I do? Well we have already mentioned some supplements you may want to investigate, but don't forget they are supplements! Something to be added to your life, not the cure-all.
Natural Solutions May Work
The next place to look should be diet. Look for foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory. Eat more fruits and vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are cold water fish, such as salmon. Some nuts have a healthy supply of omega 3's like walnuts. Flax seeds and soybeans are also good source of Omega 3's.
Other anti-inflammatory foods you would want to include are grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, olive oil, tea and some spices (ginger, rosemary and turmeric).
There has been a lot of research done on the Mediterranean. This diet is a great example of an anti-inflammatory diet and of foods you will need to eat. Foods that have shown themselves to be inflammatory include red meat, margarine, processed foods and refined carbs.
Build your meals around lean proteins and whole foods high in fiber, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. You might want to also includes brown rice and whole wheat bread as well.
Take time for regular exercise. This is an excellent way to prevent inflammation provided you use a sound mind. Make sure you don't over do it. You want to spend up to 45 minutes to an hour of aerobic exercise. If you can't do that much work up to it. Be sure and include your health care professional in the process. You may even want to hire a professional trainer.
Losing Weight is another way to lower inflammation. Losing weight is one way to decrease inflammation. If you are eating enough whole grains, fruits and veggies, there is no need to go hungry. Balance is the key.
Most people do not handle stress well and not handling it well leads to chronic inflammation. There are many techniques today to cope with the stress. Some of these include yoga, biofeedback, guided imagery. One of the latest forms to relieve stress and improve brain function is called mindful meditation. If you are experiencing a lot of stress in life there is help and your health is worth it!
All of the “natural solutions” mentioned above will take time to reduce inflammation. You have to be patient with the process. Of course, medicines can have quick results but they are not solving the problem. Many researchers believe that problems will return after success with surgery if there is no lifestyle modification.
Mentioned in this article are only a few of the so called natural solutions to reversing inflammation. It is important that what ever health issue you are dealing with, you take responsibility for it. Those that do have a higher success rate than those who don't. It just stands to reason!