Chronic inflammation: symptoms, causes, treatment

Chronic Inflammation: Understanding and Controlling It

Inflammation is what the body does to fight against things that hurt it, like infections or injuries. This is so it can heal itself. When something hurts your cells, your body makes chemicals that tell the immune system to do a response.

When you get a cut on your knee or have a cold, the body will make antibodies and proteins to fight off the bad cells. It will also increase blood flow to that area. This process usually lasts a few hours or a few days.

Chronic inflammation happens when your body is in an alert state. If this happens too long, it can have negative effects on your tissues and organs. Some research suggests that chronic inflammation could also play a role in some bad conditions like cancer or stroke.

Chronic inflammation is a problem. This article will answer common questions and give you some help with fighting them.

What are the symptoms of chronic inflammation?

Acute inflammation can cause pain, redness, or swelling. Chronic inflammation is much less noticeable and you might not notice it until the symptoms get worse.

There are a lot of symptoms that happen when you have chronic inflammation, like feeling tired, feeling pain all over your body (even if it's not where the inflammation is), depression or anxiety, problems with your stomach (like diarrhea or constipation) and weight gain or loss. You may also be sick more often.

These symptoms can be mild or severe and last for a long time.

chronic inflammation
chronic inflammation

What causes chronic inflammation?

Chronic inflammation can be caused by things like untreated infections and injuries, autoimmune disorders where your immune system attacks healthy tissues, and long-term exposure to irritants like pollution or chemicals.

In some cases, chronic inflammation does not have a clear underlying cause. In other cases, these issues do not cause chronic inflammation in everyone.

Experts think that there are other things that may cause chronic inflammation, like smoking, being overweight, and drinking alcohol. Chronic stress may also be a factor.

What does chronic inflammation do to the body?

When you live with chronic inflammation, your body's inflammatory response can damage cells and tissues. This can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring.

These are all linked to the development of different diseases. They include cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, and dementia (in older adults).

How is chronic inflammation diagnosed?

There are no specific tests to find out about inflammation by itself. But some blood tests can do this. The ones that check for C-reactive protein are good. It is found in infections or inflammation in the body, like the joints, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) reflects heart inflammation.

Many people do not know they have chronic inflammation until they get another medical condition. If you think you might have chronic inflammation, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. They will know the first steps to take if you are diagnosed with this condition.

What is the best way to treat chronic inflammation?

Inflammation is when your body tries to heal. This will happen when you are hurt or sick. If it becomes chronic, then you should try to get it under control because it can cause long-term damage to your body. Some options are trying the following things:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce inflammation and pain. There are over-the-counter NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). Long-term use is linked to an increased risk of peptic ulcers and kidney disease.

Steroids. They decrease inflammation and stop the immune system from attacking healthy tissue. But they can make you lose your sight, make your blood pressure go up, and make your bones weak. If you take them, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks before you start taking them.

Supplements can help reduce inflammation. Fish oil, lipoic acid, and curcumin have all been linked to decreased inflammation - but more studies need to be done about them before we know for sure. Curcumin, ginger, garlic, and cayenne are also helpful when you have an inflammatory problem or disease. More research needs to be done on the best dosage for these supplements.

Changing your lifestyle can help lower inflammation. This means you should exercise more, lose weight if your doctor says so, and eat healthier.

What is the relationship between nutrition and chronic inflammation?

What you eat can play a role in helping to manage chronic inflammation.

Foods to eat

Different foods have anti-inflammatory properties. These include foods high in antioxidants and polyphenols, like olive oil, leafy greens, tomatoes, fatty fish, nuts, fruits especially cherries, blueberries, and oranges.

If your doctor or dietician recommends that you change what you eat, consider talking to them about the Mediterranean diet. A study found that participants who followed this diet had lower markers of inflammation.

Foods to be cautious about

Inflammation can be caused by eating some foods. These include refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pastries, fried foods, like French fries, and processed meat.

If you want to reduce chronic inflammation, your doctor may recommend that you cut back on these foods. You don't need to stop eating them completely, but try not to eat them as often as before.


Chronic inflammation can make you more likely to get sick. This is because inflammation can increase your risk of getting diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Medication, supplements, lowering your stress (if possible), exercise, and following a diet that is less likely to make inflammation worse may all help you reduce your chances of living with chronic inflammation. But before doing anything else, you should always speak with your doctor first.

Your doctor may be able to tell if you have inflammation by looking at your blood. They might also be able to tell what condition is causing the inflammation. This can happen with conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or another disease that attacks the immune system.