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Erin Nitschke

Inflammation. The word alone has a perceived negative connotation, but it can provide valuable information about well-being and achieving optimal health – that is if we pay attention and are aware of changes we experience.

The body has a natural inflammatory response. It’s activated when the body is injured, during recovery, dysbiosis (gut flora imbalance), overtraining or too much exercise, medication use, mental stress (family or work-related) and when the body reacts to an “unfriendly” food. Even the process of aging is inherently inflammatory. In short, inflammation is the body’s way of reacting to some sort of stress.

Acute inflammation can occur often in response to a bug bite, a cut or some other minor “injury”. However, low-grade inflammation is a signal that something isn’t right in the body – that something is off or amiss. Low-grade inflammation might be a symptom of a larger issue and not cause of issues itself. Remember, inflammation is a response mechanism and a tool the human body uses to send “SOS” signals.

While it is possible to test for low-grade inflammation in the body, it’s difficult to pinpoint where the inflammation is occurring, which makes the search somewhat experimental and unknown. However, the more we understand inflammation and respect it as a signal, we can work towards identifying the source.

What are the signs of chronic low-grade inflammation?

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Every person has a unique biochemistry and his or her reaction to stressors (mental or physical) will vary, but researchers agree there are some common signals. Many who experience chronic inflammation experience

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Social disinterest
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive concerns ranging from aches, to diarrhea, unexplained nausea, etc.
  • Weight gain or inability to lose weight

Of course, these signs can also be related to other conditions and concerns so it is best to visit with your primary care provider to get to the root cause of any affliction. If you experience these signs or symptoms, it may be worthwhile to dig a little deeper to find out what your immune system is trying to say. It could be something as simple as eating the wrong food for your chemistry (a high-reactive food) or it could be another concern.

Like the ocean tides and the solar system, our bodies like to have a rhythm. That rhythm or balance is disrupted when the body is in a constant state of inflammation, which leads to other concerns. Help your body get back in rhythm by creating a sense of body awareness and respect for the signals it sends.

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Erin Nitschke is a health and human performance educator, NSCA-CPT and ACE Health Coach who lives in Sheridan. She can be reached at erinmd03@gmail.com.

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