Chronic Inflammation

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Inflammation and Aging

The Theory of Inflammation and Aging focuses on acute inflammation, which when the body fails to turn inflammation off it becomes chronic inflammation. To understand this, we walk you through the stages of acute and chronic inflammation stages.

Whenever you experience an injury to your body’s tissues, whether by a virus, bacteria, fungus, toxin exposure, or burn – your body responds in one way: acute inflammation. The acute inflammatory response is like sending a flare into the sky, signaling the emergency team of firemen and police to help immediately. Your tissues release cytokines, acting as the flare, which helps alert those services that they are needed urgently.

When your body is exposed to a foreign invader or toxin, it triggers the release of chemicals such as histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins. These chemicals cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues causing swelling, which prevents the foreign invader or toxin from further contact with body tissues.

These chemicals also help signal for specific white blood cells that will travel to the affected area and begin attacking the invader or toxin. This process is known as phagocytosis. These white blood cells also stimulate other immune system components, such as leukocytes and macrophages, which help clear out the area of debris or dead cells from the injury. This process helps to reduce the spread of infection and can often prevent further tissue damage.

Sometimes, this response, which is meant to be limited in time and action, persists and becomes chronic. The response becomes chronic because the infection or toxin is never completely cleared.

Chronic inflammation response is often seen in older patients; often the cause is unknown. Inflammaging, also written as inflammageing or inflamm-aging, is a new word defined as an age-related increase in the levels of inflammatory markers due to unknown causes. Inflammaging is a risk factor for multiple diseases that are common and a frequent cause of disability as we age.


The Root Cause of Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation significantly impacts our health, with studies finding that it affects over 40% of Americans. It has been linked to a host of debilitating and life-threatening ailments, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis,
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer

Inflammation can affect any part of the body and can be acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is typically short-lived in response to an injury or infection. Symptoms of acute inflammation include:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Heat, and
  • Loss of function

Chronic inflammation, unlike acute inflammation, can last months or even years. Symptoms of chronic inflammation include:

  • Body pain, joint pain, and muscle pain.
  • Chronic fatigue and insomnia.
  • Depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.
  • Gastrointestinal complications like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux.
  • Weight gain or weight loss.
  • Frequent infections.

While inflammation is a natural response to injury or foreign invasion, too much for too long can be damaging. Common causes of chronic inflammation include stress, poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, toxins, allergens, and infections, all of which are never completely cleared. The essence of chronic inflammation as a cause that has not been identified and has not been removed from the body is a major tenet of the Theory of Inflammation and Aging.  Identifying and addressing these underlying players is essential to reduce and even halt chronic inflammation, improve your health, and improve your aging.

Inflammation is a complex process requiring insight into its causes, proper testing, and effective treatment to mitigate it. Understanding what triggers inflammation can better manage your health conditions and prevent long-term chronic inflammation and its complications. MDLifespan can assist in providing guidance, testing, and advice on reducing the risk of developing inflammatory diseases and providing information about available treatments for those already living with a chronic inflammatory condition.

Treating Inflammation

Treating inflammation starts by recognizing and eliminating the root cause, such as infection, toxins, or allergens. Once the root cause has been identified, dietary and lifestyle changes to help reduce inflammation. These may include changing one’s diet to include more anti-inflammatory foods, increasing (or decreasing) physical activity, and reducing stress levels.

The most common treatments for chronic inflammation include anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants. Though these can alleviate symptoms, they do not address the root cause of chronic inflammation, and these drugs have many adverse side effects. Therefore, it is essential to consider more natural and holistic approaches.

Changes in lifestyle, diet, supplements, and even procedures may be warranted. We utilize natural anti-inflammatory supplements to work towards quelling any remaining inflammation. Moreover, we offer our patients a Therapeutic Plasma Exchange, a procedure which effectively removes or reduces most chronic inflammation causes, thereby achieving lasting results.

Advanced Testing

When looking for Chronic Inflammation, look to the testing! Chronic Inflammation has many causes; a thorough search must be performed. Our testing profiles give you the advantage of treating the cause, not just the symptoms of inflammation.

Our comprehensive method of testing for Chronic Inflammation:


The solution to Chronic Inflammation lies in using anti-inflammatory supplements while we identify and remove the cause. Identify, Neutralize, and Eliminate!

Our comprehensive Solutions for Chronic Inflammation:

FAQ & Sources

We value fact over opinion. Please refer to our FAQs for the most commonly asked questions. In addition, we have listed the medical references for the facts stated on the website.

To review the articles and references cited on this topic of Chronic Inflammation, click here


What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a process by which your body’s immune system responds to protect you from infections, toxins, allergens, or foreign chemicals. At first, the body releases chemicals like histamine, prostaglandins, and bradykinins, which cause blood vessels to leak, increasing the fluid outside the cells, which causes swelling in the tissues. This swelling helps keep the invader/toxin/chemical away from the tissues. These chemicals released by the body also help call for white blood cells, which will help eat the invaders and debris and clean up the toxins and chemicals.

What is the difference between acute and chronic inflammation?

Inflammation can be either short-lived or long-lasting. Acute inflammation goes away within hours or days. Chronic inflammation can last months or years.

How do I know if I have chronic inflammation?

Symptoms of chronic inflammation include body pain, joint pain, muscle pain, persistent fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, weight gain or weight loss, and frequent infections. To diagnose chronic inflammation, there are laboratory tests and markers that confirm inflammation is present.

What are the most common tests for chronic inflammation?

The most common tests for chronic inflammation are C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). A high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test is more sensitive than a standard C-reactive protein (CRP) test.

What are the more advanced tests for chronic inflammation?

Testing for cytokines is an advanced method of determining inflammation. Cytokines are small proteins crucial in controlling the activity of other immune system cells and blood cells. When released, they signal the immune system to do its job. Cytokines such as IL-6, IL-1β and TNFα.

How do I find out the cause of my chronic inflammation?

With an in-depth evaluation of your immune system, allergens, environmental toxins, chronic infections, and gut microbiome, the providers at MDLifespan will attempt to identify the root cause of your inflammation.

Does being fat contribute to aging?

Up to 30% of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 in the bloodstream may originate from adipose tissue. Therefore, being obese or overweight in older age may significantly contribute to chronic inflammation and a weaker immune system.

How do I treat my chronic inflammation?

The treatment for chronic inflammation starts with removing the identifiable cause if possible. Changes in lifestyle, diet, supplements, and medications may be warranted, and Therapeutic Plasma Exchange may help reduce or even eliminate the cause of your chronic inflammation.

What is inflammaging?

Inflammaging (also known as inflamm-aging or inflamm-ageing) is a chronic, low-grade inflammation that develops with advanced age. In the absence of clear and present infection, inflammaging contributes to other age-related diseases. Inflammaging is thought to be caused by a loss of control over systemic inflammation resulting in chronic, overstimulation of the immune system. Inflammaging is a significant risk factor in illness and death in older individuals.

When do I see my doctor about my chronic inflammation?

If you have symptoms of chronic inflammation or you believe that you have chronic inflammation, you should see a provider to have testing performed.


  1. Harvard Health Publishing. “Understanding acute and chronic inflammation.”
  2. Cleveland Clinic. “Inflammation.”
  3. Franceschi, Claudio. “Inflammaging: a new immune-metabolic viewpoint for age-related diseases.”
  4. Xia, Shijin. “An Update on Inflamm-Aging: Mechanisms, Prevention, and Treatment.”
  5. Ferrucci, Luigi. “Inflammageing: chronic inflammation in ageing, cardiovascular disease, and frailty.”
  6. Franceschi, Claudio. “Chronic Inflammation (Inflammaging) and Its Potential Contribution to Age-Associated Diseases.”