Inflammation: is it helping or hurting?
The inflammatory response is a part of our immune system and is characterized by the following symptoms: redness, heat, swelling, and pain. It is part of a powerful biological response our body activates in reaction to destructive stimuli such as germs, injured cells, or irritations. Inflammation is actually an attempt by our bodies to remove these damaging stimuli and begin the healing process.
Acute inflammation, which is your body’s initial reaction to destructive stimuli is not long-lasting and does not build any immunity to the cause of the inflammation. It helps wounds and infections heal, without this physical reaction advanced destruction of our tissues would occur. However, long periods of inflammation, called chronic inflammation, can lead to a host of diseases like hay fever, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer.
Chronic inflammation can last weeks, months, or even years and is a major contributor to tissue destruction. It leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the injured or infected site and is characterized by synchronized destruction and healing of the tissue. By disrupting the anabolic signals that initiate muscle growth chronic inflammation has been connected to a cause of muscle loss that occurs with ageing.
So what does this mean to us? It means that it is in our best interest to combat chronic inflammation because if we allow it to persist over an extended period of time it will significantly degrade our body’s tissues, organs, and overall health. More specifically, in persons with Osteoarthritis of the knee, inflammation of the surrounding joint is a contributing factor to the pain and continued degradation of the joint.
You can ease and prevent chronic inflammation of the knee by taking some simple steps in your everyday life:
- R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)
- Supplementation of Fish Oil and Phyto-4
- Proper Diet
- Healthy sleeping habits
- Regular Exercise
We will discuss these inflammation management topics in subsequent blogs in more detail.