What is a normal inflammatory response?
Inflammation is a normal physiological response produced by your immune system when you have injured yourself. It is designed to keep out pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that could infect the wound further. This acute inflammation induces redness, pain and swelling is a natural part of the healing process. It is this response that should have a beginning and then a crescendo in the middle dropping down to a solution at the end. The solution is the end of the inflammatory reaction. It is important that it stops because it uses up a lot of energy and it produces collateral damage i.e. tissue can become damaged if it goes on for too long.
How inflammation used to be perceived.
We used to believe that inflammation slowly fizzled out. To this end we were encouraged to take anti-inflammatory medications that would help to dampen down the reaction. What we have known since 2011 is that there needs to be a big inflammatory reaction in order for a switch to happen. The switch allows for the anti-inflammatory part of the reaction to take stage and finish the whole process. Unfortunately anti-inflammatories such as Cox-2 inhibitors may mean that we just go on producing inflammatory molecules in a low grade way.
Why is low grade inflammation a problem?
If the inflammatory reaction continues going then the inflammatory molecules start to constantly travel in the bloodstream around the body and this can cause ‘wear and tear’. Chronic low-grade inflammation is an underlying factor in most chronic diseases and has a huge impact on our energy levels and our ability to heal and repair and generally feel well again. It can go on for many years with people generally feeling unwell and low in energy. If it goes on for too long then it can develop into diseases such as autoimmune disease and cancer.
What are examples of conditions with low grade inflammation at the root?
Diabetes Type II
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dementia and Neurodegeneration
Allergies and Intolerances