Why Chronic Inflammation is Your Worst Enemy

July 3, 2023

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by: Dr. Paul Savage

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Why Chronic Inflammation is Your Worst Enemy

Ask any longevity specialist in the field, “what is the most dangerous condition in the human body?” and 99% of them will say chronic inflammation. Left untreated, chronic inflammation can damage healthy cells and organs. The symptoms usually start as small and unnoticeable problems in the body but eventually lead to much bigger problems, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more.  

In this article, we are going to review the following: 

  • Signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation 
  • How chronic inflammation causes you to age faster 
  • 10 facts about chronic inflammation 

 

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation 

Chronic inflammation is a long-term, low-grade immune response that damages your body’s healthy tissues and organs over time. In contrast, acute inflammation is a normal and necessary response to injury, allergen, toxin, or infection. Inflammation becomes chronic when your immune system is constantly activated without a clear trigger or when the inflammation fails to turn off after an initial response. 

Some of the signs and symptoms related to chronic inflammation include: 

  • Constant, persistent fatigue 
  • Ongoing muscle and joint aches 
  • Chronic skin rashes 
  • Continual problems with digestion, such as constipation or diarrhea 
  • Weight gain with no reason apparent 
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Brain fog and the inability to focus 

 

How Chronic Inflammation Makes You Age Faster 

Chronic inflammation causes persistent activation of immune cells and activates enzymes, such as NADPH oxidase, resulting in the sustained production and release of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Reactive oxygen species are unstable molecules that cause damage to the invaders, a critical component of the immune system.  

The body has many antioxidants that can neutralize ROS’s damaging effect. The imbalance that occurs when ROS production is greater than the body’s ability to neutralize them with antioxidants is called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can damage your cells, proteins, and DNA over time and contribute to age-related visible changes such as wrinkles and age spots. 

In addition to oxidative stress, chronic inflammation can cause cellular senescence, which is when the cells stop growing permanently. Senescent cells can accumulate in tissues and organs, leading to dysfunction and impairing the body’s ability to repair and regenerate itself. 

 

10 Facts about Chronic Inflammation 

  1. Inflammation can have both beneficial and harmful effects on the body. Acute inflammation is a necessary part of the immune response, but chronic inflammation can damage tissues and organs over time. 
  2. A range of factors, including poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, toxins, allergens, and chronic infections, can cause chronic inflammation. 
  3. Chronic inflammation can be detected through blood tests that measure inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein, sedimentation rate, and interleukin 6. 
  4. Chronic inflammation can be detected through imaging tests such as PET Scans, which show areas of the body with increased metabolic activity associated with inflammation. 
  5. Chronic inflammation targets you where your genes are the weakest and exacerbates that illness. Whether your genetics put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, chronic inflammation plays a significant role in facilitating any of your risk factors. 
  6. Chronic inflammation can also contribute to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Reducing inflammation may help improve mood and cognitive function in some individuals. 
  7. Chronic inflammation contributes to the development of certain types of cancers, such as colon, liver, and lung cancer. Inflammation stimulates new blood vessel growth, which can help cancers grow and spread. 
  8. Chronic inflammation can be treated with lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, stress management techniques, supplements such as quercetin, and medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. 
  9. By reducing chronic inflammation, it may be possible to slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of age-related diseases 
  10. Therapeutic Plasma Exchange (TPE) can remove inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and autoantibodies from the bloodstream. The use of TPE to reduce chronic inflammation and reverse the biomarkers of aging is a new frontier in longevity medicine. 

Ready to Reduce your Chronic Inflammation? 

If you have concerns about chronic inflammation, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options. 

MDLifespan specializes in longevity services designed to give you a custom healthcare plan for chronic inflammation and optimal aging. Schedule a call with a Patient Service Advisor to get started today!