Chronic inflammation can have a variety of negative health effects. From Time:
You can't live without inflammation, but it can also be hazardous to your health. You’ve heard of anti-inflammatory medications and anti-inflammatory diets, but do you really know what inflamation is? In short, it’s the body’s response to outside threats like stress, infection, or toxic chemicals. When the immune system senses one of these dangers, it responds by activating proteins meant to protect cells and tissues. “In a healthy situation, inflammation serves as a good friend to our body,” says Mansour Mohamadzadeh, PhD, director of the Center for Inflammation and Mucosal Immunology at the University of Florida.” “But if immune cells start to overreact, that inflammation can be totally directed against us.” This type of harmful, chronic inflammation can have a number of causes, including a virus or bacteria, an autoimmune disorder, sugary and fatty foods, or the way you handle stress. Here are a few ways it can affect your health, both short-term and long.
It fights infection.Inflammation is most visible (and most beneficial) when it’s helping to repair a wound or fight off an illness...It prepares you for battles Another type of inflammation occurs in response to emotional stress. Instead of blood cells rushing to one part of the body, however, inflammatory markers called C-reactive proteins are released into the blood stream and travel throughout the body.
It can harm your gut Many of the body’s immune cells cluster around the intestines, says Denning. Most of the time, those immune cells ignore the trillions of healthy bacteria that live in the gut. “But for some people, that tolerance seems to be broken,” says Denning, “and their immune cells begin to react to the bacteria, creating chronic inflammation.” The immune cells can attack the digestive tract itself, an autoimmune condition known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
It can harm your joints When inflammation occurs in the joints, it’s can cause serious damage. One joint-damaging condition is rheumatoid arthritis(RA)—another example of an autoimmune disorder that appears to have a genetic component, but is also linked to smoking, a lack of vitamin D, and other risk factors.
It’s linked to heart disease Any part of your body that’s been injured or damaged can trigger inflammation, even the insides of blood vessels. The formation of fatty plaque in the arteries can trigger chronic inflammation. The fatty plaques attract white blood cells, grow larger, and can form blood clots, which can cause a heart attack.Obesity and unhealthy eating increases inflammation in the body.
It’s linked to a higher risk of cancer Chronic inflammation has been linked to cancers of the lung, esophagus, cervix, and digestive tract, among others..The inflammation may be due to obesity, a chronic infection, a chemical irritant, or chronic condition; all have been linked to a higher cancer risk....It may sabotage your sleep In a 2009 study from Case Western Reserve University, people who reported sleeping more or less than average had higher levels of inflammation-related proteins in their blood than those who said they slept about 7.6 hours a night.
It’s bad for your lungs When inflammation occurs in the lungs, it can cause fluid accumulation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe...Smoking, exposure to air pollution or household chemicals, being overweight, and even consumption of cured meats have been linked to lung inflammation... It damages gums Inflammation can also wreak havoc on your mouth in the form of periodontitis, a chronic inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria accumulation.
It makes weight loss more difficult Obesity is a major cause of inflammation in the body, and losing weight is one of the most effective ways to fight it. But that’s sometimes easier said than done, because elevated levels of inflammation-related proteins can also make weight loss more difficult than it should be.... Inflammation can also increase insulin resistance (which raises your risk for diabetes) and has been linked with future weight gain.
It damages bones Inflammation throughout the body can interfere with bone growth and even promote increased bone loss, according to a 2009 review study published in the Journal of Endocrinology. It affects your skin The effects of inflammation aren’t just internal: They can also be reflected on your skin. Psoriasis, for example, is an inflammatory condition that occurs when the immune system causes skin cells to grow too quickly. .... It’s linked with depression