What is inflammation?
Let’s talk about acute inflammation. When you cut yourself, bacteria, viruses, and things from the outside world get in. To simplify, picture your immune system as a group of particular cells roaming around the body, bumping into things and asking the question, “Excuse me, are you “me”? Or are you “NOT me”?”
If it’s a “me”, they say, “Hi me!” and keep going on their merry way. If it’s a “NOT me”, (like a bacteria), your immune cells tag it, alerting the rest of the immune system to rid it from the body and anything else that looks like it. This acute inflammatory response looks like swelling, redness, puss, scabbing and eventually healing.
What about CHRONIC inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is something that lasts longer than three months. Chronic inflammation is the SAME response of the acute injury, but the “acuteness” doesn’t go away. It just keeps happening. I am going to use food as an example. We know there are certain foods that cause an inflammatory response. What kinds of foods do that? Processed foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, and alcohol.
I am going to pick on a donut here because it has gluten, dairy, sugar, and maybe even soy. Let’s say you eat a donut ONCE a year. Picture the donut situation as if you are basically taking a cheese-grater to your insides. If you do this ONCE a year, your body is like, “No problem, I got this!” But if you are eating donuts (or cereal, fast food, breads, pizza, noodles, etc.) every single day, this is what triggers the chronic inflammatory response over and over again.
What happens over time is that inflammation becomes adaptive. Your body is adapting to its circumstances the best that it can. So, if you’re cheese-grating your body every day from food choices, then your body will work to create the inflammatory response every single time.
And, if you cheese-grate your body enough, it begins to lose the game, and can’t keep up with being able to get ahead of the injuries to HEAL.
This is when, eventually, disease will arise. But before disease arises, your body WILL give you a chance (or several chances) and clues as to what isn’t working. These chances or clues are called signs and symptoms. It’s your body tapping you on the shoulder asking you to pay attention to the things that you’re doing that are not working.