What is Inflammatory Response?
The good news here is that your body, via its immune system, defends you against all sorts of attacks, from mosquito bites to wounds and injuries to toxins and disease. Such attacks on your body (including by bacteria and viruses) trigger an inflammatory response in which your immune system dispatches cells and chemicals to the site to repair the damage. External evidence of an obvious inflammatory response (say, on your skin) may be redness and swelling around an area that has been injured.
However, if your body has been attacked or injured internally, the inflammatory response might be less evident to you, at least immediately. The bad news is that, if prolonged, inflammatory response can cause tissue damage, even as it is engaged in healing and repair. The trick is to properly stop prolonged inflammatory response in its tracks!
In recent years, medical practitioners have seen the prevalence of inflammatory response disorders, like asthma, take off like a rocket. For example, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC) reports that, in a classroom of 30 students, an average of three will have asthma. In fact, in 2002, 14.7 million school days were missed because of it. In addition, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, allergies, and many other life-altering illnesses all have been linked to inflammation.
Heart disease, the leading killer of North Americans, also has been closely linked to the inflammatory process.
An increased inflammatory response also has been implicated in certain aggressive forms of cancer. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, and the CDC reports one million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year. How much of that is linked to your own body's inflammatory response processes? Can reducing inflammatory response reduce the spread of cancer?
The CDC also reports that 20% of American adults have arthritis and that the disease limits the activity of about 19 million people. It’s important to understand that arthritis is not necessarily part of a natural aging process (as arthritis patients often are told).
The bottom line? Acute (short-lived) inflammatory response is evidence that your body is working on your behalf to protect you. Be happy with that.
Chronic inflammatory response (a process that can go on for weeks, months, and years), on the other hand, can cause more damage than it repairs. Be alert to that!
What Can You Do About Chronic Inflammatory Response?
Summing up current thinking, Dr. Anthony Cichoke argues that degenerative diseases “are primarily caused by our modern diets and lifestyle, and for the most part, are preventable.” He contends the solution lies in a “return to a healthful and balanced diet and lifestyle, of course”1.. For more information on how to return to a healthful and balanced diet, see EAT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.
1. Chichoke, Anthony J., DC, PhD. Enzymes: The sparks
of life. 2002. Burnaby, British Columbia: Alive Books
The World Health Organization projects that, by 2030, almost 23.6 million people around the world will die every year from cardiovascular disease.
World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/en. Accessed January 2011.
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