Inflammation is a part of the body's defense mechanism. It is a process through which the immune system recognizes and fights against harmful infections and makes toxins to protect the body. However, long-term infection is not beneficial to the body. Chronic inflammation lasts for several months or years in response to the stimuli inside or outside the body. Chronic inflammation may persist even after the first trigger is gone.
The white blood cells accumulate in the body tissues and secrete chemicals that may eventually damage the tissues. The extent and effects of chronic inflammation depend on the cause of the injury and the body’s ability to repair and overcome the damage.
Risk factors of chronic inflammation
A range of factors may increase the risk of chronic inflammation, such as
- Older age
- Alcohol abuse
- Chronic stress
- Sleep problems
- Low sex hormones
- Diabetes mellites
- Diet rich in unhealthy fats and added sugar
- Foods that trigger inflammation
The intake of the following foods can increase inflammation. Limit or avoid their consumption.
Complications of chronic inflammation
When a person has chronic inflammation, the body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues and organs. Over time, this can damage DNA, cause tissue death and thicken and scar tissues.
Chronic inflammation may increase the risk of several serious diseases, including
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Active hepatitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic peptic ulcer
- Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease