How Inflammation Affects the Body
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. Injuries can range from a simple scratch to major surgery but surprisingly, certain foods can also cause inflammation too. Although it does cause white blood cells to flood the affected area to heal damaged tissues, how inflammation affects the body can be negative if it is in excess.
Every part of your body can be affected by inflammation. Let’s take a look at what can actually happen if you do not keep it under control.
#1. Hair Loss or Alopecia
Hair loss or alopecia can be due to inflammation of hair follicles. It is often caused by a staph bacteria or fungi on the scalp, or anywhere hair grows. As a result, you may experience itchy bumps on your scalp or even flakiness. This can lead to even further hair loss as the scalp is technically damaged and the roots of the hair cannot be nourished. Fortunately, if the inflammation is rectified, the hair loss can be temporary.
#2. Brain Functions
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in our brains that is known as the “happy chemical” as it helps to regulate our moods and make us feel, just as the nickname implies, happy.
Serotonin levels in the brain are decreased by inflammation and this can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression.
Inflammation in the brain can also lead to issues that would prevent us from staying focused all day and even if we try various methods to improve memory, we need to take care of the inflammation first to see improvements.
Our brains need sleep to function properly, as well as we need to be feeding it the proper foods. Avoiding certain foods can also work towards maintaining proper levels of serotonin and thus avoiding the ill effects of the inflammation.
#3. The Heart
When the wall of the heart becomes inflamed, it leads to something called myocarditis. This muscle is responsible for pumping blood in and out of the heart and to the rest of your body. When inflamed, it cannot any longer perform this function optimally and this can lead to chest pain, trouble breathing, and even an abnormal heartbeat.
In severe cases, excessive inflammation can lead to blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and even death.
#4. The Lungs
How inflammation affects the body and specifically the lungs, may vary depending on the severity of the inflammation and the cause of the inflammation itself. Allergens in the air, smoking, bacteria, and viruses can cause inflammation.
If you develop pneumonia, the tissue in your lungs become infected and you will experience a cough filled with phlegm, chest pain when you breathe, difficulty catching your breath, as well as a fever.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria and is highly contagious. It, too, is associated with a persistent, phlegmy cough and fevers. Treatment is generally six to nine months of the required medications.
Arthritis is one of the most prevalent signs of how inflammation affects the body and unfortunately, it affects the joints of the fingers of a person’s hands. A person may experience pain, swelling, and stiffness. Depending on the individual, one may also have a loss of strength in the hands. Even though it is painful, it is important to keep your fingers moving as much as possible to alleviate some of the symptoms.
When the lining of our stomach becomes inflamed, we may experience a multitude of gastrointestinal issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. But what causes it? For some people, eating something too spicy can be a trigger. However, excessive smoking or drinking alcohol can also increase the likelihood of these issues.
“Trust your gut” as the old saying goes. If something feels off, pay attention to what it is telling you. For instance, if you have just experience the stomach flu, be sure to be eating probiotic foods to regain the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract as it has most likely been stripped during the illness.
If you have ever had issues with your feet, you know that it can terribly troublesome. It decreases your mobility which increases your chances of suffering from a more sedentary lifestyle. Inflammation of the joints in the feet can lead to arthritis, gout, and even plantar fasciitis.
Gout is a buildup of uric acid in your joints that crystallizes and causes pain. When there is excessive inflammation in the body, your kidneys may not be able to remove toxins from your system – thus, the buildup of uric acid.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by an inflammation of the ligament that connects your heel to your toes. I have experienced this for several years and was due to standing for 8-10 hours a day on concrete floors, often without proper footwear. It is extremely painful and can be difficult to get rid of. Luckily there are exercises and stretches that can help alleviate the issue.
Many people suffer from arthritis in their knees. The inflammation of this joint can make it difficult to get around and unfortunately, that lack of movement can actually make the situation worse.
Often our diet, lack of exercise, or excess weight can cause the inflammation found in the knees. It may result in redness or feel warm to the touch. Bone spurs may develop around the knee as well as fluid may begin to gather.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and thus, will demonstrate inflammation easily and often quickly. It may be something as simple as a bit of redness due to an allergic reaction or fine lines and wrinkles to more serious issues like eczema and dermatitis.
There are certain foods you can eat for a clearer complexion if you find that acne or blemishes are getting out of control. There are also habits you can begin to incorporate into your daily routine to help with the fine lines and wrinkles. However, if you are experiencing more severe skin issues, it is important to take it as a single from your body that something is not right. Seeking advice from a doctor or a dermatologist may be in order.
How inflammation affects the body will inevitably vary from individual to individual. Everyone’s system is different and one person may react severely to the scent of perfume while the next person has zero reaction whatsoever.
Pay attention to your eating habits as well as to various environmental factors. Your body is telling you when it is not agreeing with something. Whether you turn to medications or perhaps certain spices that reduce the inflammation, hopefully, you are able to find what works best for you.