What is Inflammation and Why Does it Matter?

Inflammation is our body’s defense system and response to stress. It is needed to help us heal and recover from injuries and illnesses. But it can easily turn into our enemy and create debilitating pain and disease.

There are two types of inflammation: Acute and Chronic. Acute inflammation is our body’s natural response to stress on the body by sending inflammatory cells to the injury in order to heal. Symptoms of acute inflammation include red skin at the site of injury, swelling, heat, and/or pain and tenderness.

Chronic inflammation is when your body continues to send those inflammatory cells even when there is no outside danger. This type of inflammation is harder to spot and comes on like a slow drip. Some symptoms of chronic inflammation include abdominal or chest pain, fatigue, fever, joint pain, or skin rash.

This year, Dr. Gray and her team are focusing on Inflammation. Throughout the year, our blog series will dig deeper into testing and measuring inflammation, our Inflammation Program, how inflammation is linked to nutrition, stress, brain health, movement, and more!

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is like setting your body on fire from the inside out. It often makes a person feel stiff, tight, achy, and swollen. Since it’s hard to spot, people often describe the feeling as being bloated with unexplained fatigue. 

The most common reasons for chronic inflammation include autoimmune disorders (like psoriasis and lupus) and exposure to toxins; but, chronic inflammation can also develop if a person is hypersensitive to external triggers (like allergies), has an autoinflammatory disease, or if someone has not fully recovered from acute inflammation.

Additional factors that can increase the risk of chronic inflammation include:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of movement (or too much movement for athletes)
  • Poor sleep
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Smoking

Why is Inflammation Dangerous?

Because chronic inflammation begins as a slow drip and is so subtle, it is difficult to spot, resulting in many people often not finding out there is something wrong until they are diagnosed with a serious illness. 

When chronic inflammation is left unaddressed, it begins to attack and damage healthy cells, tissues and organs, and may cause internal scarring and tissue death. Ultimately, chronic inflammation can lead to potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer or Type-2 diabetes. 

Other long-term diseases related to chronic inflammation include:

While inflammation plays a vital role in healing, chronic inflammation can continue for months or years. The symptoms will depend largely on the disease itself but often include pain and fatigue.

Inflammation Treatment Overview

In the short-term, inflammation is a useful process for our body to defend itself from illness and injury; although it may cause pain and discomfort for a short period of time. When inflammation becomes long-term or chronic, it can result in some severe and possibly life-threatening conditions.

For Dr. Gray, she started to search for an option in order to deal with excessive chronic inflammation. She started focusing on controlling her inflammation by eating mostly nutritious foods, taking supplements, exercising, managing stress, and sleeping well. Although these actions are necessary for helping inflammation, they weren’t enough to get it under control. She decided to look for something else, and that’s when she found Whole Body Cryotherapy.

Dr. Gray utilizes Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) to help take control and stop the slow drip. WBC is non-invasive and triggers the body’s natural systemic response to eliminate inflammation from the inside out. The best part about WBC, it can be used for competitive athletes, those suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, or anyone dealing with excessive inflammation!

Questions about measuring systemic inflammation and developing a plan that makes sense for you? Dr. Gray is working with a limited number of people on her proven Inflammation program. To learn more, email Dr. Gray directly at drgray@restorehlc.com

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