Chronic Inflammation

Basic Info

When the immune system detects viruses, bacteria, toxic chemicals or anything non-self, it sends out inflammatory cells as the first line of defense. These cells start an inflammatory response to trap microorganisms and other offending agents or to start healing injured tissue. The inflammatory response can cause pain, swelling, bruising or redness, and pain. There are two types of inflammation: Acute inflammation is the response to a sudden on-set attack or injury; symptoms include pain or tenderness, swelling, and flushed skin at the injury site. Chronic inflammation is when the immune system continues sending inflammatory cells even when there is no longer danger. Autoimmune disorders, exposure to toxins, and untreated acute inflammation can cause chronic inflammation. There is usually chronic inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and type 2 diabetes, to name just a few. Certain vitamins (A, C, D) and supplements (zinc) may reduce inflammation. Some OTC medicines, such as ibuprofen (Advil®), aspirin (Bayer®) or naproxen (Aleve®), may reduce inflammation. Steroid injections may decrease inflammation at a specific site in a joint or muscle. Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties are oily fish (mackerel, salmon or sardines), leafy greens (spinach, kale), olive oil, and tomatoes.

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