Inflammation is a natural immune system response that helps to protect the body from injury and infection. When we have an injury or become ill, our body signals the immune system to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses and repair the damage. This is known as acute inflammation and is a normal and necessary response that helps the body to heal.
However, chronic inflammation is a persistent, low-grade inflammation that can have negative effects on the entire body. It is triggered by the body's perception of a threat, even when there is no injury or infection to fight. This can lead to the immune system attacking normal tissues and has been linked to a range of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Chronic inflammation can also cause joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of joint function, as well as flu-like symptoms such as fever and fatigue.
The good news is that we can take steps to promote healthy immunity and reduce chronic inflammation through our diet, lifestyle habits, and environment. An anti-inflammatory diet, similar to the Mediterranean diet, can help to reduce inflammation by including foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and fish, and avoiding foods that promote inflammation like saturated and trans fats, sugary foods, and refined carbs. Acupuncture, tai chi, and qi gong may also be helpful for managing joint pain and mobility. Overall, living a healthy lifestyle is important for maintaining good health and reducing chronic inflammation.