Inflammation occurs when white blood cells become unnecessarily inflamed without the presence of foreign particles, such as bacteria and viruses. This occurs with arthritis or another similar autoimmune disease.
If left untreated, inflammation can lead to irritation, swelling of the joint lining, and, eventually, wearing down of bone cartilage. Inflammatory diseases require diagnosis by a medical doctor, which includes an evaluation of your medical history and symptoms.
Pain and other symptoms caused by inflammation vary, but some of the most common signs of inflammation are:
- The swollen joint that’s sometimes warm to the touch
- Joint pain
- Joint or muscle stiffness
- Loss of joint function
- Flu-like symptoms – like chills or fever.
- Loss of appetite
With any disease, it’s difficult to place the types of inflammation in a single box. Two of the most common types of inflammation are:
Acute inflammation, which starts suddenly and becomes severe in a short amount of time. This occurs when the body undergoes physical trauma, develops a sore throat in response to illness, or after high-intensity exercise.
Chronic inflammation, which is long term inflammation that may last months or years. This happens more often with asthma, Crohn’s disease, or active hepatitis, among other chronic autoimmune diseases.
Inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Digestive Troubles. Excessive alcohol and some medications can cause inflammation in the stomach and intestinal lining.
Emotional stress. Intense emotional or psychological stress can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate inflammation.
Insulin resistance. Inflammation is a key component in the development of type 2 diabetes. This can manifest in tiredness, sluggishness, and general aches and pains.
Hormonal imbalance. An imbalance in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can result in inflammation and cause adult acne and osteoporosis.
Plastic fibers. Certain fibers in plastic and latex-based products can cause inflammation and can manifest in an allergic reaction.
Improper diet. A diet high in saturated fats can send the GI tract into overdrive, lowering your metabolism and causing inflammation.
Airborne chemicals. Chemicals found in the air, ranging from pollutants to household cleaning products, can cause inflammation.
Genetics. Some inflammatory illnesses, such as allergies or multiple sclerosis (MS), can be passed down genetically in families.
If you are diagnosed with inflammation, you have a number of options for prevention and treatment. Medication options include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help to manage and control pain.
Corticosteroids (such as prednisone).
Antimalarial medications. (such as hydroxychloroquine), DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), including methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, azathioprine, and cyclophosphamide.
Biologic drugs. such as infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, certolizumab, golimumab, abatacept, tocilizumab, and rituximab
Other options for treating and preventing inflammation on a daily basis include:
Eating a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fiber, lean proteins, and vitamins and minerals is one of the easiest ways to fight inflammation.
Rest. During a flare-up, it is important to rest and allow your body to recover.
Modify your activities. Adjusting your exercise routine can help lessen inflammation symptoms.
Physical therapy. This can help to increase your range of movement and muscle strength.
Utilize braces or sprints. When inflammation pain gets particularly severe, reducing the stress placed on joints through the assistance of braces or sprints can help ease the pain.
CBD. CBD has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects that have been proven to play a significant role in reducing inflammation pain. It is also the strongest natural anti-inflammatory product available.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, including a slow warm-up, can help prevent inflammation. It can also prevent the onset of obesity, thought to be another contributing factor to increased risk of inflammation.
Often, finding the right treatment takes trial and error. Talk to your physician who can help guide you through the process.