1. There Are Two Types
There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute is when the immune system rushes to protect an area of the body that has been hurt because of a graze or cut on the skin or a twisted ankle. It is seen as red, hot and swollen in the area of pain. Also acute inflammation can be through the whole body causing a fever to kill off a bacteria or virus. Acute inflammation lasts for a short time, days or maybe a week or so.
Chronic inflammation can last for months or years, this inflammation can be caused by toxins from refined foods, poorly digested foods and additives.
Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system’s response to injury and infection. It is the body’s way of signaling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. Without inflammation as a physiological response, wounds would fester, and infections could become deadly. However, if the inflammatory process goes on for too long or if the inflammatory response occurs in places where it is not needed, it can become problematic. Chronic inflammation has been linked to certain diseases such as heart disease or stroke, and may also lead to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. But a healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep inflammation under control.
2. How Does It Cause Harm to the Body?
Chronic inflammation can eventually destroy healthy tissue and be the cause of disease.
All structures in the body must have nutrients to maintain the varying functions. It is the same with the immune system. The nutrients the immune system needs are: saturated fats, antioxidants and minerals. Poor food, lack of exercise, lack of movement, poor lifestyle choices cause the immune system to function poorly and it is thought ‘switched on all the time’ causing an auto-immune disease.
What researchers believe is that an overactive immune system results in the body being flooded with defense cells and hormones that damage tissues. Dietary and environmental toxins may build up in the body, turning the immune system on and keeping it highly reactive.
3. The Benefits
Inflammation is a good thing and without it we would be very ill and unable to heal. The healthy purpose of inflammation (more lymphatic fluid being made) is to kill the pathogen, dilute the toxin, flush out the dead cells and debris. In the presence of a pathogen, toxin or injury, watery fluid called lymph is released from the blood to the lymphatic vessels along with white blood cells. These white blood cells contain the cells required for healing and killing antigens.
A healthy lymphatic response should be seen in the body in the same manner that a gently continually flowing river is seen in the countryside. In the presence of an antigen (foreign body) the lymph should gently and continually flow to bring healing nutrients to the area, and continue to flow through the course of the lymphatic system to take the unhealthy toxins away. When the foreign bodies are cleared, the amount of lymph should be returned to normal.
4. The Adverse Effects
The adverse effects of inflammation appear when the river of lymphatic fluid is too much, stagnates, congests and gets stuck. The effects are puffiness around the area of injury, which can cause more pain in the area, because the puffiness (swelling) presses on nerves. Lymphatic fluid becomes congested due to tight fascia and muscles trapping the fluid, squashing the fine lymphatic capillaries causes pain and a lack of mental clarity leading to depression.
Stretching can help reduce inflammation and therefore depression. Stretching the fascia and muscle groups restores their working length, increases flexibility and can re-align the whole body thus allowing the fluid to flow better and reduce the congested lymph. The congested lymph in the thoracic area can cause back-up to the cerebrospinal fluid in the spine which in turn causes back-up to the brain.
The cerebrospinal fluid leaves the brain and spinal cord through two areas, one by convection in the nasal area and two by the lymphatic capillaries in the spine. The diseases caused by congestion of the cerebrospinal fluid and lymph are almost too numerous to mention but include: mental health conditions, depression, Alzheimer’s, dementia, chronic fatigue, diseases of the digestive tract, skin diseases (such as psoraisis and eczema), disease of the heart and rheumatoid arthritis. Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s are also thought to be auto-immune diseases. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease and now Type II diabetes is being classed as an autoimmune disorder.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), periodontal disease (PD), and coronary artery disease (CAD) are common chronic inflammatory diseases. RA is associated with accelerated vascular risk resulting in an increased prevalence of CAD with attendant early mortality and excess morbidity. RA and PD have a common pathobiology. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to evaluate the association between RA, PD, and CAD and the influence of systemic inflammatory factors … Evidence from this study shows an association between RA, PD, CAD, and systemic levels of the inflammatory mediators. The implication is that inflammation may be the central link between the chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorders and atherosclerosis.
5. We're Always in an Inflammatory State
Our immune system is continually fighting something, it has to, or we would be ill all the time. Most healthy people hardly notice this process going on in their own bodies. If inflammation comes with depression, fatigue, aches and pains, swellings and/or fever, then it’s time to see your Health Practitioner and get some advice.
It is now thought that most feelings of depression are due to inflammation in the brain. Cerebral spinal fluid baths the brain and spinal cord with fluid. The fluid arises from ventricles in the brain and brings in nutrients and takes away toxins. One toxin, beta amyloids, found in increased amounts in the brains of those who had Alzheimer’s, drains from the brain during sleep. In the Alzheimer’s condition, beta amyloid is increased in the cerebral spinal fluid, therefore good quality sleep is essential to drain this and other toxins.
While the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, researchers say. During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours, a study of mice found.
However, other conditions can cause a congestion of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and spinal cord - tense muscles, poor posture, poor sleep position, neck pain and boney misalignments.
Toxins in the cerebral spinal fluid are released via venous channels in the boney cranium and out through the nasal sinus of the skull. In the spinal column, lymphatic vessels take the toxins from the cerebral spinal fluid through the layers of protective matter and out between the boney spinal vertebrae to the subclavian veins in the chest for drainage.
This is a concept that has been mooted since 1869, and one that Dr Perrin wrote a thesis about for his theory of the cause of CFS/ME which involves many symptoms one being depression causing ‘foggy’ thinking or unable to think straight.
Since an original report by Schwalbe in 1869, a large body of work in many different species has indicated a role for lymphatic vessels draining CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) in both cranial and spinal regions.
Spinal fluid flows during the night when we sleep, therefore it is crucial to re-align and stretch the muscles which if tight would cause congestion of this flow. Stretching before sleep not only allows better cerebrospinal fluid flow but also better sleep. Maintaining flexibility, good posture, body positioning while working and correct alignment during the day is also crucial for the flow of lymphatic and cerebrospinal fluid.
6. Weight Issues
Weight issues can be caused by a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome which is defined as: “a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. New research suggests treatments to combat metabolic syndrome such as anti-inflammatory drugs.”
The increasing incidence of obesity and the metabolic syndrome is disturbing. The activation of inflammatory pathways, used normally as host defense, reminds the seriousness of this condition. There is probably more than one cause for activation of inflammation.
The Biochemical and Physiological abnormalities associated with Metabolic Syndrome that increase inflammation can be caused by poor food choices. Changes to the diet may help including avoiding refined carbs and sugar, drinking only good quality water, increasing green leafy veg, consuming some red meat and animal fats and reducing the amount put on the plate. This will help to reduce inflammation and also aid the body to lose weight.
7. How Do Fats Help?
Animal oils and fats make prostaglandins which make hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers traveling through the body initiating reactions. For example insulin is a hormone to move glucose to where it is needed, and thyroxine is vital for the thyroid to do its job. A lack of these hormones causes diabetes and hypothyroidism - two conditions associated with Metabolic syndrome.
8. Some Foods Cause Inflammation
Food intolerance can cause inflammation, but so can food products that have been processed and manufactured to such a degree that they are toxic to the body. Foods that are prone to causing inflammation include refined fats and oils, such as vegetable lard, margarines, low-fat spreads, refined cooking oils, skimmed milk, low fat yogurt, soya products and table salt.
Intolerance to foods can also cause inflammation, these foods may include all grains except rice, soya (soya is particularly aggressive to the thyroid), milk, eggs, nuts and sulphites.
To reduce inflammation avoid all foods suspected of causing an intolerance and consume foods that reduce inflammation: animal fats, fish oils, fresh organic vegetables, raw organic whole milk and cheeses, and spices, especially turmeric. Studies show that turmeric can reduce the incidence of dementia and premature death.
A promising study published in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry titled, “Dietary Curcumin Ameliorates Aging-Related Cerebrovascular Dysfunction through the AMPK/Uncoupling Protein 2 Pathway,”[i] reveals the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin (which gives it its golden hue) may provide what the study authors describe as an “effective therapeutic strategy to reverse age-related cerebrovascular dysfunction.
9. It's Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system is switched on all the time, due to inflammation being present from environmental and food-related toxins. There are over 100 known autoimmune diseases, some of them are rare but range from hair loss (alopecia) to vitiligo (white patches on the skin caused by a lack of melanin) and include multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. A change in lifestyle and diet can reduce the symptoms of most of these diseases, as this brings in the nutrients the body needs and reduces the toxins it doesn’t.
10. Chronic Inflammation Flies Under the Radar
Chronic inflammation can be seen very slightly in some areas but all can be affected - the skin, stomach area, fingers, nose, ears, feet and ankles as well as in and around the organs. However, inflammation can be said to ‘fly under the radar’ because the person is so used to seeing their body a little puffy, they think nothing of it and often ignore any other symptoms that accompany the inflammation until they begin to ‘shout.’
The liver makes a protein called C-reactive, which is passed to the blood when the immune system needs to initiate repair to damaged tissue. A blood test will show if there are raised levels of the C-reactive protein and if so, then it is thought that inflammation is the cause.
Lymphoedema is one of those conditions where inflammation is ignored for a long time and the sufferer simply believes they need to lose weight. Lymphedema is a serious condition which is a malfunction of the lymphatic system that results from a blockage. The cause may be a genetic inheritance, poor posture or surgery. This can cause severe swelling in the limbs especially the legs causing pain and difficulty walking. A complete change in diet, gentle stretches and therapies such as manual lymphatic drainage and lymphatic drainage reflexology can all help to reduce the severity of this disease.
Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Massage (RLD) is a reflexology technique on the feet and hands which focuses on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes. The aim is to stimulate the lymphatic system in the body. The lymphatic system is essential to the body as it plays a vital role in the prevention of illness and the body’s ability to heal and be well. As with manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD), RLD may improve many chronic conditions including: rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, sinusitis, chronic fatigue, asthma and acne, and can be particularly beneficial for relieving fluid congestion with conditions such as lymphoedema.
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