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Risk of Lingering Inflammation
As touched on previously, in the last few decades, scientists have found inflammation to be a common factor in many chronic conditions afflicting Western populations. Inflammation is essential for health, but there is another side to this survival mechanism. Lifestyle choices such as diet, activity and sleep habits can all play a role in how chronic inflammation manifests. And it’s fair to say that managing inflammation levels can contribute to health, healing and lifelong well-being.
For nearly seven decades, we’ve been told high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) caused by a diet high in fat puts us at risk for stroke and heart attack. Within the last few years, research has come forward proving that a diet high in good fats has numerous health benefits. Today, medical professionals have validated evidence connecting chronic inflammation with cardiovascular diseases. In fact, Harvard Health Publishing challenges the myth around LDL cholesterol with research indicating that only half of people who suffer heart attacks have high levels of LDL cholesterol.
“Even though tests for cholesterol provide a lot of useful information, about half of heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. Several studies have shown that, among people with normal cholesterol numbers, those with increased CRP levels have a several-fold higher risk for heart problems. Additional research has shown CRP to be a better predictor of cardiovascular events (heart attacks, strokes, bypass surgery, or angioplasty) than other inflammatory markers.”– Harvard Health Publishing
Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
A malfunctioning immune system plays a role in both type 1 and 2 diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes is more common and occurs when cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by cells in the pancreas, which controls the amount of sugar in your blood. Increased insulin resistance can prompt the release of chemicals that lead to inflammation.
Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity
Metabolic overload associated with metabolic syndrome can result in numerous reactions, such as inflammation and oxidative stress. When you gain too much weight, and fat storage cells meet capacity, adipose tissue is no longer able to engulf the incoming fat. This leads to fat being deposited in other organs, mainly the liver. When this happens, the body tries to remove the excess fat by sending macrophages to clear it out, which triggers inflammatory responses, increasing your chances of developing chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Cases of allergic inflammation are on the rise. In people with allergies, cells in the immune system become overly sensitive and may even respond to substances that aren’t harmful at all. Allergens bind to antibodies triggering the release of histamine resulting in an allergic reaction; sneezing, watery eyes, hives or rash, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term that refers to disorders involving chronic inflammation of your digestive tract; these can include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The exact cause of IBD is still unknown, but one possible reason is a malfunction of the immune system. When the immune system tries to fight off pathogens, it mistakenly attacks cells in the digestive tract as well causing inflammation.