9 Easy-to-Miss Signs of Hidden Inflammation + Natural Treatment Tips
9 minute read
A hot topic in health news these days is inflammation and the dangers associated with it. Anti-inflammatory foods and supplements are everywhere and can be a great way to naturally help your body. But some medications for inflammation, like NSAIDS and steroids, can alleviate the inflammation while potentially causing serious side effects.
Adding to the confusion surrounding inflammation, not all inflammation is bad, in fact some of it is vital to healing and building muscles. So, what’s all the fuss about? Here is what you need to know about spotting inflammation, even when it’s hard to find.
Acute and Chronic Inflammation
When discussing inflammation, it’s important to make the distinction between acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
In medical terms, an acute diagnosis of anything is usually a sudden onset with a relatively short lifespan. Acute inflammation is something like an ankle sprain where you swell up around the injury and eventually the injury heals and the swelling disappears.
With acute inflammation you often get dilated blood vessels, redness, heat, and pain along with the swelling. This type of inflammation, although irritating and sometimes painful, is actually good and helps protect the body during the healing process.
Chronic inflammation is a longer-term condition that often isn’t as evident as acute swelling and can be dangerous. Chronic swelling is usually not associated with an injury but it’s more likely to be related to an illness or a disease. Chronic inflammation also tends to be different depending on the causal illness and the individual.
Signs of Hidden Chronic Inflammation
Because acute inflammation is considered the “good kind,” it’s chronic inflammation that you’re hearing about in the news. According to information published by the National Cancer Institute, over time it can lead to DNA damage and potentially cancer.
It’s clear that preventing chronic inflammation is a great way to keep your body healthy. But inflammation is tricky and sometimes difficult to diagnose. The following are nine hidden ways your body might be telling you there’s something awry.
Fatigue is more than just feeling tired or in need of a morning coffee. Real fatigue is a constant state of exhaustion in which muscles are simply unable to make it through the day.
2. Joint Pain
People who have rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis often complain of joint pain. This is because the body’s immune system attacks the joints and releases chemicals that cause pain and inflammation.
3. Stomach and Digestive Problems
If everything you eat seems to cause some sort of intestinal problem, like bloating, diarrhea, cramping, and gas; it’s very possible that you have an illness that’s related to chronic inflammation.
Don’t worry if you experience this only once in a while, especially after eating something of suspicious quality. Everyone has digestive issues at times. However, if it’s a regular problem, then something more serious could be the cause.
4. Allergy Symptoms
If you suffer from a runny nose and watery eyes, it’s quite possible that chronic inflammation may be the culprit. Or it could be that repetitive exposure to the allergens are causing chronic allergic inflammation. Over time, this can produce long-term changes in organs and their ability to function optimally.
5. Dermatitis or Eczema
If your skin is showing signs of dryness, itchiness, and even red patches with swelling, it’s a good indicator that you have some type of dermatitis or eczema. These conditions work hand-in-hand with swelling—the itch causes the reaction, which causes swelling and then prompts more itching. It’s a vicious cycle and inflammation plays a major part.
6. Throat Clearing and Coughing
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes in the lungs. When this happens, you will feel the need to cough regularly, will notice thickened mucus in your throat and, as the bronchitis advances, you may feel a chest tightness accompanied by wheezing.
7. Mouth and Tooth Issues
There are two major types of inflammation you want to watch out for in your mouth: gingivitis and periodontitis. Both are types of swelling that can affect the gums, the bones and tissues in your mouth, and your teeth.
Following the recommended oral health care routine is the best way to stave off these issues and to keep your mouth healthy. Your efforts may go further than you think—in addition to keeping your mouth in great shape, warding off gingivitis can help you prevent a stroke or heart attack.
8. Anxiety and Stress With Depression
Both anxiety and stress can cause inflammation and can lead to depression. Even fatigue can lead to be a response to inflammation that can lead to depression.
The connection between depression and inflammation is a popular topic these days, and there are a lot of scholarly articles that are proving a connection. This may lead to new modalities of treatment in the future, such as an anti-depression diet, and a brighter outlook for everyone suffering with depression.
9. A Spare Tire
Belly fat is not only your arch enemy, it might be causing you to have chronic inflammation issues. The Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences published an article that took a deeper dive into the possibility that obesity causes chronic inflammation.
| Related: Are Probiotics the Best Natural Way to Burn Belly Fat? |
Their findings showed that the overweight group had higher lymphocyte count, which means that there is a correlation between obesity and inflammation.
What If You Have Chronic Inflammation
If you have one or more of the signs of chronic inflammation listed above, it’s a good idea to bring your findings to your healthcare provider so a more thorough analysis can be done to help determine if this is indeed an issue for you. Then your doctor will help you plan a medical attack on inflammation.
| Related: Could Chronic Inflammation Raise Your Risk for Alzheimer’s? |
One step you can take, whether you have inflammation concerns or not, is to change your diet. There are a lot of foods that fight inflammation, and they’re the ones that are all-around diet superstars.
You already know that fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy diet and lifestyle so feel free to add more of the following:
♦ Green leafy vegetables
♦ Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
♦ Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines
♦ Nuts, including almonds and walnuts
♦ Olive oil
On the list of foods to avoid, red meat might surprise you, but a little red meat can actually be OK, just be careful to moderate your intake. The rest of them you already know you should steer clear of on a regular basis:
♦ Red meat and processed meats
♦ Refined carbohydrates
♦ Fried foods
♦ Soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks
♦ Margarine, shortening, and lard
The Bottom Line
Finding a connection between symptoms you are having and inflammation is the first step in learning how to control your inflammation issues and lead a healthier life. You should include your healthcare provider in the process to determine what, if any, health problems you have and create a treatment plan together.
Following these food recommendations can lead to less chronic inflammation, reduced symptoms, and possibly less illness and disease down the road. It will also help you create some eating habits that support all-around good health.