THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF CHRONIC DISEASE
Inflammation is the body’s natural way of dealing with an injury, physical or mental. Normally when the injury is corrected and healing process begins, the inflammation cascade is turned off and metabolic parameters are reset. However, living in our modern era of continuous stress, bad diet, toxin exposure, this process has been hijacked and the off signal has been overtaken with the inflammatory process continuing and is demonstrated in what we now see as chronic disease like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, dementia, Alzheimer’s, IBS. Many feel healthy never knowing that their body is burning up until they develop symptoms. Chronic smoldering inflammation slowly destroys our organs, hinders our immune system from functioning properly and accelerates aging.
Traditional medicine is great at treating acute issues like broken bones, appendicitis, pneumonia, but it woefully inadequate when it comes to managing and healing chronic disease. There are many reasons for this, but the major one is that it is disease oriented, not health oriented. Another is treating the symptom instead of the cause of the problem. Using this approach never improves or heals anything. Taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication will give you temporary relief, but it changes nothing and you are at increased risk for the side effects of the drug. This is downstream medicine. We need to use upstream medicine and look for the root of the problem.
The good news is there has been a paradigm shift in medicine and how doctors approach illness and imbalance and it is call functional medicine. It is personalized medicine, not cookie cutter. Because we are similar, but not exactly the same, what works for some, may not work for another. Treatment has to be individualized. Functional medicine doctors scientifically search for the cause of the body’s imbalance upstream, correct it, then support the restoration of the body back to balance.
One of the first steps in evaluating your inflammation status is a simple test called CRP, C-Reactive Protein. If it is elevated, it confirms an overactive immune system and an inflammatory response out of control. Now the search begins to find out what inflammatory triggers unique to each person in their lifestyle, infectious or environmental toxin exposure may be the culprit.
CAUSES OF INFLAMMATION
- Very poor diet high in sugar, processed food and saturated fats
- Lack of Exercise
- Environmental Toxin Exposure like Mercury, pesticides
- Chronic Infections-bacterial, viral, fungal
- Food Allergens
- Mold toxins, allergens
So once you have figured out what has caused the inflammation, how do you correct it and restore your health?
8 STEPS TO ANTI-INFLAMMATORY LIFESTYLE
- Consult with an Integrative Functional Medicine doctor if you need help in creating your anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
- Whole Foods-Eat more whole, unprocessed, fresh foods, plant based that lower inflammation.
- Healthy Fats- Eat healthier fats like nuts, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and Omega-3 fish oil.
- Regular Exercise- In all scientific literature, exercise lowers stress, improves immune response, improves mood, strengthens cardiovascular system, slows aging and lowers inflammation.
- Avoid Allergens- check if you have any food allergies to dairy or gluten.
- Heal your gut- Take pre and probiotics to heal your gut, improve digestion which lowers inflammation.
- Relax Learn how to lower stress with yoga, meditation and bio-feedback techniques that decrease inflammatory response.
- Supplements-take a multivitamin/mineral, fish oil, vitamin D which reduce inflammation.
Understanding these core concepts of health and finding a health partner to support you is a major step in creating optimal health and well-being.
Let me know how you are doing because we are all on this path of creating a better reality for ourselves.
Valerie L. Youngblood MD