What is inflammation? If you asked the most people, they’d probably describe what happens when a person suffers a wound or burn, or even a reaction to an infection.
Something like a localised physical condition, where parts of the body become red, swollen, hot and often painful – this is what is described as “acute inflammation”
However, there is another kind of inflammation that people may not be aware of, a more subtle, low-grade, chronic inflammation that has few if any overt symptoms.
Approximately a decade ago, researchers started looking into how this kind of inflammation could be linked to disease.
And what they found was that chronic inflammation can be linked to an overwhelming majority of serious medical conditions – hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and most cancers.
One of the most dangerous things about chronic inflammation is how invisible it is. It can take years, even decades, of this low-grade condition before any visible damage or symptoms appear.
What does Inflammation have to with Ageing?
Some researchers believe that numerous inflammation-related genes have been linked to susceptibility to most age-related disease.
It has even been suggested that chronic inflammation may be the leading factor in ageing – if this is indeed true then it will simplify a complex subject, as ageing has been challenging to understand medically.
The “ageing” process is basically the deterioration of the body over time. And it is not a single process or a straight line, but rather an unpredictable set of changes that manifests differently in every individual.
The most common “signs of ageing” tends to be loss of muscle strength, loss of memory, slower movements. For many, it means developing medical conditions like arthritis and dimmed eyesight.
The immune system also has some connection to the ageing process. As a person gets older, there is less precision with in how the human body targets invading pathogens and helps the body heal.
Inflammation is the most general type of response to pathogens. And without specific targeting, the body begins to secrete inflammatory chemicals that injure its own cells rather than healing them.
By being a common factor in so many seemingly unrelated ageing processes, chronic inflammation has the potential to simplify the ageing process and be countered as a preventative measure.
How Do I Stop Inflammation?
Because chronic inflammation can be occurring in the body for an extended period of time, preventing it also requires a significant time too.
Research has found that the simplest way of combatting inflammation is to essentially do the opposite of what causes inflammation.
The most effective life changes appear to be;
- A balanced lifestyle without extreme changes.
- Good sleep of around 7-9 hours per night
- A natural whole foods diet.
- Paying attention to everyday activity, including walking and standing.
- Reducing stress.
- Absence of emotional upset, anxiety, and depression.
- Solid family and community support.
- Feeling loved and wanted.
- A calm, unconflicted mind.
“Anti-inflammation” often turns into a lifestyle, becoming a routine that becomes easy and natural over time.
Research into the connection between inflammation and ageing is still ongoing, and no where does it state that inflammation is the root to age-related conditions.
There needs to be a distinction between between chronic and acute inflammation, as, in some cases, inflammation is a beneficial process that is necessary for the healing response.