I have had a lot of questions from last week's post, so much so that I have decided to divide it up and DIG DEEPER over the next couple weeks. I have had questions like;
What vitamins do you recommend?
How do I clear the inflamation?
What plants and oils do you recommend?
How do I know if I have inflammation in my body?
So, let's dig a little deeper on the subject of what inflammation looks like in the body.
First off, let's talk about how you can see if your body is being affected by inflammation. Keep in mind that you may experience all of these together, or just one. If you are wondering what your inflammatory factors are, please see your healthcare practitioner for blood testing. I am not a doctor, nor am I an internalist. These are my observations, my research on the subject and what has benefited me and my family. I encourage you to use this post as a starting point that will help you dig deeper into taking full accountability for YOUR personal health and wellness.
Some signs and symptoms to watch for are*;
Body pain such as muscle aches and joint pain are commonly caused by increased systemic inflammation. When inflammatory cytokines are elevated in the body, they can attack muscle and joint tissues resulting in redness, swelling, and pain. You may have stiffness, decreased mobility and joint / muscle ache as well. This body ache may feel persistent, and may be unaffected by rest. Often this body ache is described as "the ache like when you get the flu". I see this body ache most commonly in clients backs and feet.
Skin rashes such as eczema or psoriasis, are inflammatory skin conditions that are characterized by red, rough, and flaky skin. Both eczema and psoriasis are linked to hypersensitivity of the immune system and individuals with these conditions are more likely to have a greater number of inflammatory mast cells which when activated, trigger the skin rashes to surface. This is often triggered by excess stress and / or foods that your body is sensitive to. Many studies show that the rashes caused by systemic inflammation are often unaffected by the creams and lotions that are prescribed.
Excessive mucus production
This symptom is often overlooked. Many just think their children / themselves are sickly, instead of looking to inflammation. Are you always needing to clear your throat or blow your nose? Have you considered you may be inflamed? When inflamed, mucous membranes produce thick phlegm in an attempt to protect epithelial cells in the lining of the respiratory system which results in coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. The most common cause of excessive mucus are inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten and sugar. Often individuals notice a big difference in how "sick" they feel within a couple days of eliminating these irritants.
Constantly feeling fatigued despite getting adequate nightly sleep is another clue your body is fighting off chronic inflammation. Just like you feel run-down when you’re sick, when you’re chronically inflamed your immune system remains active and continues to work overtime to regulate its response. In turn, chronic inflammation increases the requirement of cellular energy to ensure rapid regeneration of immune cells and further depletes you of the fuel you need to feel fully energized. It's like your body is running marathons everyday trying to fight the inflammatory factors. These symptoms are often linked to the body ache and mistaken for illness. Have you ever caught yourself saying "I thought I was sick, but it just won't go away." If so, it is likely that your body is fighting some form of chronic inflammation.
Common digestive issues including bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and loose stool may also suggest an issue with inflammation. Chronic inflammation throughout the body can contribute to leaky gut syndrome , or intestinal permeability, which can cause bacteria and toxins to “leak” through the intestinal wall into the rest of the body. A “leaky gut ” can further fuel ongoing systemic inflammation and contribute to digestive symptoms such as abdominal distention and irregular bowel movements. This is a cycle that will continue to feed itself. Not addressing the gut issues can keep your body in an inflammatory state.
After being in a heightened state of stress and awareness these last 18 months, many of us are able to check the boxes on all of these, or one at the very least. Take a deeper look at what is happening with your health. Ask yourself "what is the root cause of my fatigue, my runny nose, my rash?" Often the symptoms have underlying causes; like the stress, poor diet choices, and sedentary lifestyles. I suggest starting with a daily journal. Write out EVERYTHING! What did you eat? How did it make you feel? What movement did you do? How did it make you feel? How did your body respond? Did you get a runny nose? Did you feel stomach pain? Write out how your body responded emotionally, physically and even spiritually. Do this for the week, then next week we will dig deeper into how we can start to shift AWAY from the inflammatory factors using nutrition, movement and meditation.
*As always, if you feel that you have inflammation in your body, please reach out to your healthcare practitioner for proper blood work and diagnosis.