5 Chronic Inflammation Symptoms and How to Reduce Them
Chronic inflammation is dangerous and can contribute to several major diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart, liver, and kidney diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia.
However, not many people are aware that they have it. According to The Washington Post, most people associate inflammation with redness or swelling after getting wounded or injured. This is acute inflammation, an immune system response that promotes healing and is temporary. Chronic inflammation can begin with no clear cause and insidiously stays around at a low level.
Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
Dual-board certified doctor of internal and obesity medicine, Dr. Alexandra Sowa of SoWell Health, tells Eat This, Not That! that diet and other lifestyle factors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and toxic stress level are culprits of chronic inflammation. Watch out for the following symptoms of chronic inflammation:
Dietician Ashley Kitchens, MPH, RD, LDN of Plant Centered Nutrition, warns that constipation is a "key indicator" that someone has chronic inflammation. If you have "fewer than three bowel movements" in a week, this is a sign of constipation and might be an indication of chronic inflammation.
The opposite of constipation, diarrhea, can also be another sign of chronic inflammation, especially if it's unexplained.
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When someone uncharacteristically loses or gains weight with constipation or diarrhea, it's another sign of chronic inflammation. Carrying excess weight can also be a sign of insulin resistance, "another driver of chronic inflammation."
Shortness of Breath
According to Dr. Cedrina Calder from Eat This, Not That!'s medical review board, shortness of breath is a common symptom of chronic lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Shortness of breath can also be accompanied by chronic coughing and wheezing.
Fatigue and Body Pain
A constant feeling of tiredness can be a sign of chronic inflammation as well as different chronic inflammatory illnesses. Unexplained body pain can also be a side effect of chronic inflammatory diseases.
How To Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Watch Your Diet
Kitchens says that the treatment of chronic inflammation is highly individualized but eating nutrient-rich and high-fiber foods helps. Harvard Health suggests avoiding or limiting foods that cause inflammation, such as refined carbohydrates, fried food, soda, red and processed meats, and margarine. Instead, go for tomatoes, olive oil, green and leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits like berries, oranges, and cherries, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. The Mediterranean Diet is a good place to start.
Improve Sleep Quality
Dr. Sowa says, "Don't overlook good, quality sleep." Sleep disorders are drivers of chronic inflammation and if you think that you have one, seek help from a specialist to improve overall health. Dr. Sowa adds that 26 percent of American adults may have sleep apnea, but most are unaware of it.
According to Very Well Mind, some symptoms of chronic stress include decreased energy, irritability, anxiety, difficulty in sleeping and concentrating, body pain and muscle tension, upset stomach, and frequent illnesses or infections. If you have these symptoms, consider stress management so your chronic stress won't lead to other chronic illnesses.