Inflammation and Chronic Disease

Rear view shot of a woman suffering from a shoulder pain

What do heart disease, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, gout, asthma, and other chronic conditions have in common? Inflammation! If you’re experiencing chronic illness (or might be), you owe it to yourself to get the facts about inflammation and what it’s doing to your health.

Fortunately, learning about inflammation just got a lot easier, thanks to Understanding Inflammation. This information-packed guide from the experts at Harvard Medical School covers everything you need to know about inflammation—what it is, why it’s dangerous, and how you can prevent and treat it.

The dangers of inflammation

There are two kinds of inflammation—acute (short term) and chronic (long term). While acute inflammation is an essential part of the healing process, chronic inflammation can lead to many of the health conditions plaguing people today.

Understanding Inflammation reveals the dangers of chronic inflammation. You’ll learn:

…how inflammation is linked to chronic disease. It turns out inflammation is a key player in a wide range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease. The guide goes into detail about these illnesses and their links to inflammation.

…how allergies can lead to inflammation. Sometimes the immune system becomes hypersensitive to allergens like dust and pollen. As the guide explains, repeated exposure to these allergens can lead to inflammation, which, left unchecked, can cause tissue damage.

…what inflammation can do to your joints. The guide looks at two joint diseases—rheumatoid arthritis and gout—and how inflammation is a key factor in both. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks itself, leading to inflammation that can damage tissues. The inflammation associated with gout can, over the long term, cause joint damage and a loss of mobility.

…the effect of inflammation on the brain. Even your brain is susceptible to inflammation. Understanding Inflammation looks at how inflammation can alter blood flow to the brain, leading to tissue damage and cognitive decline. Inflammation can also lead to the creation of damaging proteins linked to Alzheimer’s.

As Understanding Inflammation makes clear, you’re not helpless in the face of inflammation! For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen offer relief. You’ll learn about these and other non-NSAID medicines, including their benefits and risks. The guide also looks at the pros and cons of fish oil supplements as a way of managing inflammation.

Besides medicines, the guide reveals 10 powerful anti-inflammatory “influencers”—such as eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts, minimizing stress, getting more sleep, and quitting smoking—which can help you take charge of chronic inflammation and prevent or reduce its damaging effects.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

 “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” – Proverbs 12:25

 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” – Luke 12:25

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11

 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

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