All About Inflammation

Inflammation is a common ailment that affects many of us in our 50’s.

It is defined as an autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune system attempts to fight off bacteria and viruses that are not present in your body, thereby acting as though normal tissue is infected and causing damage. It can cause a great deal of pain and even cause you to lose the affected area’s ability to function. Distressingly, research has shown that 80% of all human diseases are mediated by inflammation. Left untreated, it can become dangerous.

There are three common causes for inflammation – the biological, the chemical and the physical. Biological causes include infections, diseases and allergies. Chemical causes include poisons, toxins and alcohol. Physical injuries, burns, frostbite and radiation exposure can also contribute to inflammation.

There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic. Acute information occurs in the short-term and usually lasts only a few days or hours, for example dermatitis, physical trauma, an ingrown nail or a sore throat. Chronic inflammation can last months or even years. Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease among other things. Arthritis, a chronic joint disease, is also directly linked to inflammation.

It is important that you seek treatment for inflammation as soon as you notice signs of it. Some things to look out for are:

  • Joint pain
  • Heat
  • Redness
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Poor functioning
  • Flu like symptoms

The good news is that there are ways to both treat and prevent inflammation. Taking preventative measures is an extremely important thing to do in middle age, and will not only reduce the risk of inflammation but improve your health overall.

  • Eating anti-inflammatory whole foods such as turmeric, garlic, grapes, celery, blueberries, tofu and salmon.
  • Regular exercise can help too, ideally 30 to 45 minutes 4 to 5 times a week.
  • High cortisol levels also contribute to inflammation, so managing your stress levels is extremely important. Practising mindfulness, breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and guided visualisation consistently can greatly reduce your stress levels.
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