A simple blood test can save your life. It is called C-reactive protein and it measures the degree of hidden inflammation in your body. This is important because almost every modern disease is caused by or affected by hidden inflammation, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, and dementia as well as arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive disorders.
If your immune system and your ability to balance the inflammatory forces in your body are impaired, watch out. You are headed toward illness and premature aging. But addressing the causes of inflammation and learning how to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can lead you on the path to optimal health.
Everyone who has had a sore throat, a rash, hives, or a sprained ankle knows about inflammation. Those are normal appropriate responses of our defense system to infection or trauma. We need inflammation to survive.
The trouble occurs when that defense system runs out of control, like a rebel army bent on destroying its own country. Most people are familiar with overactive immune responses and too much inflammation in common conditions like allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease or asthma. But few people know that hidden inflammation run amok is at the root of all chronic illness: heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, depression, cancer and even autism.
The real concern is not our acute response to injury, infection or insult, but the chronic smoldering inflammation that slowly destroys our organs, our ability for optimal functioning and leads to rapid aging. We may feel healthy, but if this inflammation is raging inside of us, then we have a problem.
Common treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen or aspirin), or steroids like prednisone, though often useful for acute problems, interfere with the body’s own immune response and lead inevitably to serious and deadly side effects. As many people die from taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen as die every year from asthma or leukemia. Stopping the use of these drugs would be the equivalent to finding a cure for both.
So what is the best way to control inflammation before it becomes a serious issue? First, identify the triggers and causes of inflammation, and then help the body’s natural immune balance reset by providing the right conditions for it to thrive.
What causes inflammation?
If inflammation and immune imbalances are at the root of most of modern disease, how do we find the causes and get the body back in balance? Thankfully the list of things that cause inflammation is relatively short:
- Poor diet: mostly sugar, refined flours, processed food and inflammatory fats such as trans and saturated fats
- Lack of exercise
- Hidden or chronic infections with viruses, bacteria, yeasts or parasites
- Hidden allergens from food or the environment
- Toxins such as mercury and pesticides
- Mold toxins and allergens
Inflammatory factors are unique to each person; how various lifestyle, environment and/or infectious factors spin the immune system out of control leading to a host of chronic illnesses is different for each person. A functional medicine physician can order blood tests, eliminate allergens from your diet, incorporate exercise into your daily routine and prescribe supplements to reduce or eliminate your inflammation. Taking a comprehensive approach to inflammation and balancing your immune system will help address one of the most important systems of the body.
Are you ready to make a change to get healthy? Are you ready to start a personalized treatment plan that works without the use of pharmaceutical drugs? To learn more about our functional medicine program or to schedule an appointment, please call (304) 263-4927 today. Dr. Terry Chambers is a Board certified chiropractor and acupuncturist, licensed in WV, and trained to perform functional medicine.