What is an inflammatory disease? If you have arthritis, or cancer, or heart disease, if you suffer from gout or Type 2 diabetes or an inflammatory bowel disease – you have an inflammatory disease. However, and inflammatory disease is not inflammation – it is the inflammation process gone awry.
Inflammation is actually part of the body’s repair process. It designed to stop infection from occurring. Then when it has stopped this, it halts the inflammation. Having an inflammatory disease is a message from the body that you are not giving it the right inputs to stop the inflammation. There is no rogue disease – only a body crying out to be given what it needs to control its own processes.
When we get an injury (even as small as bumping ourselves on a table corner), our immune system triggers a response – a protective immune response. When a part of our body is irritated (perhaps we burn our tongue on a very hot drink, or we eat something we are sensitive to) the same response occurs.
Inflammatory diseases are intelligent responses of the body to something causing damage. This response is designed to wall off, dilute or destroy the damaging agent or damaged section. This response appears as arthritis, diabetes II, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, pulmonary (lung diseases), autoimmune and neurological diseases. All the main chronic diseases.
All of these ‘diseases’ begin with inflammation. Signs of inflammation are –
- pain and
- loss of motion.
When we get sunburnt, this is skin inflammation – the skin is red, hot, painful and it hurts to move it. A sprained wrist is inflammation – it is warm to the touch, swollen, painful and doesn’t move easily. With some diseases, we may not feel the heat, but a thermography scan which measures heat radiating from our body, will indicate the inflamed site. Thermography can indicate the presence of cancerous tumours long before the typically used X-rays can.
This inflammation helps our bodies to heal. The heat causes capillaries to expand so that more healing nutrients can be rushed to the damaged area. The swelling, which is protein-rich blood fluid escaping from the capillaries, acts like a balloon, puffing up and holding the affected area firmly so it can heal. Swelling produces similar conditions to a plaster cast on a broken bone, but on a smaller scale. The inflammatory swelling presses on nerves and can cause pain – and especially if you try to move it. This makes you try to keep still.
The inflammatory response is the body’s intelligent way to heal some damage or irritation.
For inflammation to work the way it needs to it requires certain inputs:
- The right nutrients in our diets cause the system to work perfectly – to cause inflammation, then to use the heat, swelling or walling off to get the repair job done. And then, to finish up by halting the process.
- Insufficient nutrients will allow this inflammatory response to occur, but there will be not enough nutrients to continue the process to then HEAL the walled off or swollen, hot area;
- The wrong nutrients will cause this system to over-respond – leading to autoimmune diseases.
Many medications are designed to STOP the inflammatory response. If you keep stopping the inflammatory response, the body moves to Plan B of its intelligent responses to try to heal the damaged area – and this causes more pain, stiffness, tumour growth and auto-immune flares.
What we eat greatly affects how inflammation works in our bodies. Particular nutrients keep the inflammatory response under control. Some foods cause it to begin to rage out of control. In a future post we will look at what some of these nutrients are that impair the inflammatory response.
The key from this post is that inflammation is a good and intelligent response from the body – if it works properly. AND medications designed to prevent inflammation are BAD NEWS if you want a healthy body long term.
If you want health long term, you need to work WITH your body, not against it, and that means letting inflammation do its healing work.
In this post, find out which foods you can eat to work WITH your body to keep inflammation under control.