Home Christian Lifestyle Healthy Living 7 Signs That Inflammation is Destroying Your Body by Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

7 Signs That Inflammation is Destroying Your Body by Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

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Inflammation is one of the biggest, yet most preventable health threats of our time. I call it the “silent inferno.” It slowly simmers, destroying cells and, eventually, your health.

Not all inflammation is dangerous. In situations where you hurt or injure yourself, inflammation is actually your body’s first line of defense against infection.

Consider a common injury—a paper cut or knick from shaving, for instance. Within seconds, your body jumps into action. First, blood vessels dilate, allowing infection-fighting white blood cells to flood the area to attack germs and other harmful bacteria. At the same time, the increased blood flow to the area encourages faster healing of the damaged tissue.

For as long as the injury is open, exposing your inner body to potential infection, the inflammation will remain. But once it’s healed, the inflammation dies down and goes away. Really, it’s an amazing, life-saving immune response, and we simply can’t survive even the smallest injuries without it.

A similar response is initiated when you catch a cold, influenza, strep throat, or some other virus or bacteria. Your body deploys white blood cells to fight off the harmful invaders, and you feel it in the form of fever, body aches, and congestion or puffiness. It’s certainly miserable while it lasts, but the whole process serves an important purpose—to get you healthy again.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is anything but healing.

With chronic inflammation, the body initiates a similar response, but it continues indefinitely. Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation isn’t localized. It isn’t just your paper cut, or infected throat, that are swollen and inflamed, but nearly every cell in your body.

This type of inflammation is usually caused by lifestyle. By and large, we’re a stressed-out, overtaxed society that eats poorly and doesn’t get nearly enough sleep or exercise. When we’re young and resilient, poor lifestyle habits don’t seem to affect us much. But by midlife, our “warranty” expires, so to speak. A lifetime of poor habits catches up to us, in the form of chronic, low-grade inflammation.

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