Inflammation: ‘The Secret Killer’

Acute inflammation is vital to good health for healing wounds or fighting infection. In contrast, low-grade, ongoing “chronic inflammation” is the underlying driver of many chronic diseases.

Triggers of chronic inflammation include:
• Low-grade viral and bacterial infections
• Pollutants
• Smoking
• Belly fat
• Diet high in processed foods
• Frequent bouts of stress and anger.

Free radicals generated by these processes trigger inflammation, which can worsen the stiffening of arteries and promote plaque accumulation. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system produces inflammation that wears down the joints.

Inflammation is also a focus of research in the formation of Alzheimer’s disease. Stress-related hormones — namely cortisol — can further instigate inflammation and exacerbate some of these chronic conditions. Inflammation may also be associated with depression.

Inflammation can be measured through a blood test called “hsCRP” (high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein). You can manage your inflammatory health through better diet and exercise, as well as pharmacological and nutraceutical treatments. However, not all nutraceuticals and supplements are created equal. When buying any type of supplement, read the label to determine purity (contamination by external elements), bioavailability (greater blood and tissue levels) and cost per dose. Be sure to add all supplements to your list of medications that you provide to your primary care physician and contact them immediately with any adverse reactions. For emergencies, do not hesitate to call 911.

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