Inflammation is never a fun experience no matter what part of the body it affects. But if you have chronic inflammation, this can be a sign of serious and significant health conditions.
With chronic inflammation, the potential for significant and debilitating health conditions increases. And the effects of chronic inflammation will linger persistently – leaving the body in a perpetual state of discomfort. In addition, over time, chronic inflammation can have a serious impact on tissues and organs and can play a central role in the development of many health conditions including autoimmune diseases and cancer.
You may be wondering how to tell if you have chronic inflammation. In the following, we’ll explore 10 signs that may indicate that you have chronic inflammation.
Do you think you have the signs of chronic inflammation? Reach out to talk to a functional medicine expert at Newbridge Health & Wellness today to get help on your health journey.
How Is Chronic Inflammation Defined?
Inflammation occurs when your body’s immune system begins fighting an infection, injury, or illness. However, chronic inflammation refers to a prolonged immune system response that lingers.
Chronic inflammation is defined as a slow process of long-term inflammation that can potentially last for several months or even years. And the extent of long-term inflammation will vary depending largely on the cause of the injury or infection, and your body’s ability to overcome any damage caused.
10 Signs That You Have Chronic Inflammation
While the classic signs of inflammation can include conditions such as fever, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and swollen areas of the body, chronic inflammation can disturb the body even more and cause long-lasting discomfort.
If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, it’s recommended that you seek help through the holistic approach of functional medicine for a thorough and comprehensive diagnosis.
1. Development of Balance Problems
If you’ve been noticing changes in the way you walk, or if you’ve been experiencing periodic dizziness, this could be a sign that an inflammatory condition is causing nerve signals to respond erratically.
Additionally, inflammatory conditions that occur with autoimmune diseases can cause sensory problems that affect vision, the inner ear, and balance. For example, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that affects the part of the brain responsible for balance.
2. Issues with Blood Clotting
Hypercoagulation is usually an inherited condition that you’re born with. And this refers to a condition that causes your blood to clot more than normal. Hypercoagulation can also be acquired due to trauma, complications with surgery, medications, or due to a health condition that may cause frequent clotting.
Hypercoagulation can be a serious and deadly problem that may lead to a variety of heart conditions such as stroke or heart attack. And if a blood clot forms within the heart, this can cause the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Extreme discomfort in the upper body.
If you feel you’ve been experiencing any signs of a blood clot, you should seek medical attention immediately.
3. Persistent Fatigue
Feeling a constant state of fatigue or low energy levels could be a sign that your body is continuing to deal with a state of inflammation. And this is because your immune system is working overtime to help correct itself.
Chronic inflammation often causes an imbalanced state of energy in the body due to the energy your body is already using in trying to overcome inflammation. And this can affect your cognitive ability and mental health over time as well. Constant fatigue can also affect your life in many ways such as with work, school, and personal relationships.
4. Skin Problems
Skin problems are common responses to certain forms of inflammation, including autoimmune diseases. In fact, some skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis may manifest when the immune system attacks skin cells.
Other more serious skin conditions such as painful rashes can also develop as a result of chronic inflammation. But skin rashes are a common response to many forms of inflammation that may be caused by the body attempting to fight off infection.
5. Excessive Mucus
Excess mucus production is one of the body’s responses to inflammation during the recovery process. If you’ve been experiencing a persistent and uncomfortable amount of mucus, talking to a functional medicine provider about getting a diagnosis and treatment plan may be an ideal option.
For example, a variety of inflammatory diseases can cause excess mucus production. And a few of these conditions are:
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
If excess mucus has been an ongoing problem, this could be a sign of chronic inflammation and underlying health conditions. And this is why the holistic approach to care provided by functional medicine practitioners can be a great approach.
6. Irregular or Poor Digestive Health
Several studies suggest that even minimal levels of inflammation can cause gastrointestinal issues to develop. And a few of these conditions are considered the most common such as:
- Excessive gas
- Acute abdominal pain
Additionally, many inflammatory diseases can cause digestive problems – especially those that are directly linked to the digestive system such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). But if you have chronic inflammation, the digestive problems caused by inflammation can be quite disruptive and uncomfortable.
7. Depression, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders
In a broad study, Danish researchers found a link between depression and inflammation. And this reinforced the hypothesis that chemicals produced by chronic inflammation such as quinolinic acid are associated with chronic depression and suicide.
Chronic inflammation causes fatigue throughout the body that can also wear down the cognitive process of the brain. In addition, being physically stressed can influence mood and mood regulation. And if you’ve recently fought infection and are suffering a prolonged inflammatory response, this could cause problems with your mood and be a sign that you may have chronic inflammation.
8. Insulin Resistance
Insulin helps to control your blood sugar levels. And without the proper amount of insulin, serious complications could arise such as diabetes. Inflammation may affect how your body responds to insulin. And if your body begins to resist insulin, this can damage nerves and blood vessels.
Chronic inflammation resulting in insulin resistance may result in symptoms such as perpetual thirst, tingling in the hands and feet, and extreme states of fatigue. And if any of these symptoms are evident, you should consult with a healthcare provider immediately.
9. Muscle Fatigue
With chronic inflammation, sometimes your immune system attacks muscle tissue causing significant inflammation – a condition often referred to as myositis. Over time, this inflammation can break down the muscles, cause significant pain, and make you feel weak.
Muscle fatigue can also become progressively worse if the inflammation persists. And you may experience problems doing even the simplest of tasks such as walking and swallowing.
10. Lower Back Pain
Some severe conditions of chronic inflammation such as Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis and Ankylosing spondylitis can attack the spine. And these conditions can cause extreme pain in the back, neck, and in the hips.
Though these conditions are often treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, the persistent inflammatory condition – if severe enough – can eventually lead to a loss of motion and trouble performing basic physical tasks.
The Functional Medicine Approach to Chronic Inflammation
Functional medicine utilizes a science-based, holistic approach to care. This means that practitioners will work with you to understand every possible underlying cause of your chronic inflammation in order to properly diagnose and offer a treatment plan.
At Newbridge Health & Wellness, our providers work with you to understand your whole body and your health history, and partner with you to uncover any causes of illness that may be present. And as holistic treatment leaves no stone unturned, functional medicine may prove to be the best strategy to cope with chronic inflammation.
Want to learn more about how the functional medicine approach can help with chronic inflammation? Reach out to Newbridge Health & Wellness today to schedule a visit.