Our body uses inflammation to protect itself from infection, injury or disease and starts the healing process. Acute inflammation will last a few days unlike chronic inflammation that can last weeks, months or indefinitely causing disease and some debilitating conditions.
Acute inflammation such as when you turn your ankle - it can ‘blow up’ quite quickly become red, warm and painful, this is now an inflamed ankle! We will stop walking on it and try to look after it. The swelling and pain will mean that we will keep it still and ‘in place’. So now the body will ensure that the damaged tissues will get the help they need from the blood supply.
Chronic inflammation can happen because the body has been unable to eliminate whatever was causing the acute inflammation. It may be due to the immune system attacking healthy tissue by mistake or an irritant in the body that continues at a low intensity.
Allergies, skin problems, high blood glucose levels and digestive problems can all be signs of chronic inflammation. Go to your doctor if you have any concerns. Some diseases characterised by chronic inflammation include:
Crohn’s, Lupus, Psoriasis, Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis and Cancer.
If you want to do a bit to help your body keep inflammation at bay, avoid processed foods such as packaged meats, biscuits, crisps and other snacks, these are often high in unhealthy fats, salts and sugars which are linked to inflammation, instead choose fresh fruits and vegetables and good fats such as omega 3, coconut oil, avocados and nuts.