Remedy your burning questions about inflammation.
Why is inflammation so important? How does it affect me?
Inflammation is your body’s response to invasions: bacteria, viruses, foreign substances, chemicals, and others. It is a normal immune response. But when you are frequently exposed to large amounts of foreign materials—for example, chemicals and other synthetic substances—low-grade inflammation can become chronic.
What are the symptoms of inflammation?
The classic symptoms of inflammation are redness, swelling, and pain. For example, if you get a splinter in your finger, you will have all these symptoms—plus, you will not want to use your finger because of pain. Once you take away the splinter, or the cause of inflammation, everything returns to normal. When you are regularly exposed to chemicals and other foreign substances, you develop low-grade chronic inflammation.
Where do these chemicals come from?
A large quantity of these chemicals is consumed in food. Pesticides, preservatives, artificial colorings and flavorings, artificial sweeteners, and plastic containers made with bisphenol A (BPA) are only some of the pollutants and additives that we consume. These can cause inflammation that, in turn, can trigger what is known as “leaky gut syndrome.” We also have 3 trillion pores on our bodies that can absorb chemicals in the air: small particulate matter from diesel engines, chemicals from deodorizers, formaldehyde from synthetic carpeting, or a variety of airborne sprays used in the home or workplace. We also take these into our lungs with every breath.
What are the dangers of chronic low-grade inflammation?
Chronic low-grade inflammation is known to cause diabetes; cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attacks; metabolic syndrome; liver disease; cancer; and others.
What can I do to avoid chronic low-grade inflammation?
You can start by following the Mediterranean diet and eating whole foods. Artificial scents, although pleasant, are made with chemicals; natural materials are better than synthetic ones. Eat organically as much as possible, drink from glass containers, use organic cleaning materials, avoid areas with heavy truck traffic, and take walks in state or federal natural parks, as pesticides are not used on those lands.
Your integrative doctor can best help you and give you personalized advice on what is the best course for you to follow.