If you have a chronic condition, you have extended inflammation. In fact, all disease on some level is caused by inflammation. It’s the fastest and surest way to track your recovery. If you get blood work done, your inflammation is probably already something you know the number of, but if not, you can ask for that test to be added to your others. It’s the C-reactive protein and interleukin 6 numbers you want.
In lieu of that, there are other ways to figure it out. If you have inflammation, you possibly have slight fevers, probably often, some joint pain, depression and intestinal issues. You might feel tired a lot.
Extended inflammation is not the natural or appropriate reaction to infection or trauma. That’s the good kind. We need it or we’d die. Extended inflammation is when your body doesn’t know when to stop doing that job and the little worker buddies that get sent out to do recon and protect just keep going out and making things all red, sore and swollen. If it goes on for a really long time or it gets severe, you have an autoimmune disease. In the meantime, you’re exhausted and in a lot of pain.
If you have heart disease, you have inflammation in your blood vessel walls that causes cholesterol to accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and causes heart disease and strokes. If you are challenged with obesity and/or diabetes, you have elevated cytokine levels inside your fat tissue which causes long-term inflammation. When it surrounds your organs, you get other diseases and new inflammation. Extended systemic inflammation in your body can exacerbate nerve cell damage in your brain and hurry along issues like dementia and at the very least promote depression.
Even with cancer we find inflammation. As cancer cells form, as they get more and more faulty and broken, they release chemical signals that call to the immune system and ask the immune cells to come to them. These macrophages and granulocytes try to infiltrate the cancer tumors and once they are successful and get inside, these cells secrete cytokines, which make new blood vessels, which bring in oxygen and nutrients to the cancer to grow, which the cancer cells would otherwise not get. Pretty sneaky, sis.
And now I could go ahead and list every ailment known to man, but I’m not going to because I’m sure you get the picture. Short story, extended inflammation = Bad. Everything we do during recovery is to get those numbers down and keep them there.
Parasites and the Theory of Absence – There are theories about why people have too much inflammation or extended inflammation being linked to the cleanliness of the 20th century. The working theory goes something like this: we are so clean now, use so many chemicals to kill germs and bugs, and immunize against diseases and all of that has caused an equilibrium to break that has been in our systems for centuries.
Where small pox used to come in and take the weakest third of the population and help the other two thirds get stronger, now 98% of the population is immunized (or they should be!) and that, along with not using our human “night soil” (stay with me!) to help our vegetables grow and recycling our intestinal parasites, has made the world of our intestines and immune systems change dramatically.
So. Why am I talking about parasites and poop here? Well, it’s an interesting theory, me being someone with an immune system that keeps firing even when there’s nothing to fire at. If a missing parasite population in my intestines or small pox is what my immune system keeps preparing for and is never actually able to fight, it does make a certain amount of science-y sense. And if there’s one thing I like, it’s Science-y Sense.
But the take-away here, because I think you’ll probably agree with me that we don’t want to go back to the world of no indoor toilets, no indoor running water, using human fertilizer, and where we fear the next plague, is that our immune systems are causing inflammation and our intestinal tracts might be a big clue. We’ll put a pin in that for now until we cover digestion and foods, but just keep it in mind for yourself. If stabilizing your intestinal tract can effect what’s happening elsewhere in your body, that’s something to take seriously and a great place to start.
Eat Something Good
Put probiotics into your diet. Fermented foods help rebuild healthy gut flora. If you eat dairy, try kefir in your smoothie or make some homemade salt-brined pickles. Check the Probiotics chart for more ideas. But keep in mind, a little goes a long way, especially if you don’t currently eat them. Go easy, hoss.