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Inflammation is the body’s immune response to protect it from infection, injury and disease. It is a process where the body’s white blood cells protect you from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. Sometimes your body may attack the healthy cells, mistaking them for harmful invaders. This reaction can lead to autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
There are two main types of inflammation – acute and chronic. Acute inflammation generally occurs for a short duration, but is often severe. The inflammation normally only lasts a few days to two weeks. Chronic inflammation is a slower and less severe form of inflammation. It can occur even when there is no injury to the body and generally lasts longer than six weeks.
Other signs of inflammation may include a person feeling generally unwell or having flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, headaches, fatigue, lethargy and muscle stiffness.
Chronic inflammation is linked to diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and other joint diseases. The symptoms depend on the disease, but common symptoms include pain and fatigue.
Inflammation in the gut may present with symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramps, bloating, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Here are 5 tips to reduce inflammation and improve overall gut health.
Avoid highly processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners and alcohol. Add anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – anti-inflammatory foods include berries such as grapes and cherries, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, turmeric and cinnamon.
If you suspect that there are certain foods that may be triggering your gut inflammation it could be worth trying an elimination diet. You need to remove the foods from your diet for around two to three weeks at a time. Some foods to consider removing from your diet include dairy, soy, foods containing gluten and citrus fruits. Note down any changes that you notice throughout the process and slowly try to reintroduce the foods to see what symptoms present.
Take time for self-care, whether this be going for a walk, having a bath, meditating or simply doing mindful breathing exercises.
Probiotics help to promote healthy gut bacteria while fighting off bad gut bacteria.
Your body has vital nutrients to help it fight off inflammation. These include B vitamins, omega-3, vitamin D and magnesium. You are able to get tested to see if your body is deficient in any specific nutrients.
Top ways you can avoid inflammation include:
Treatment options for inflammation include:
The goal of treatment is to control or slow down the disease process as well as easing the pain through anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications.
In regards to acute inflammation, it is best to see a doctor if you have signs of inflammation as well as a fever, severe pain or shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any signs of long-term inflammation, book an appointment with your doctor as they will be able to run some tests and work out if you may have an underlying condition that needs to be treated.