What is Chronic Inflammation ?

Inflammation is one of the body’s ways of healing itself. It is the immune system’s response to an internal or external irritant.

Inflammation can be acute, meaning short-lived or it can be chronic (long lasting).

Chronic inflammation can last for weeks, months, or even years, leading to damage to healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Eventually, in some cases, this can result in internal connective tissue scarring, DNA damage, and even tissue death. Chronic inflammation is linked to the development of asthma, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation include body pain, anxiety, weight loss or gain, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea or constipation), and general fatigue.

Factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation include:

  • Long-term stress
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of sleep
  • Exposure to chemical irritants
  • Autoinflammatory disease
  • Acute inflammation that worsens

One way to diagnose chronic inflammation is through a blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP) which shows up when there is inflammation in the body or high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) which shows inflammation of the heart.

Treatment of chronic Inflammation can be achieved with:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Steroids
  • Dietary supplements (fish oil and lipoic acid)
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Stress reduction

Some foods can affect chronic inflammation. Tomatoes, salmon, sardines, olive oil, and nuts can help reduce chronic inflammation while fried foods, hot dogs, sausages, and highly processed foods like white bread and pastries can make it worse.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of chronic inflammation, consult with your physician to see what treatment options may be helpful to you. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.