Generally speaking inflammation is necessary to protect the body. It’s the body’s response to infection and aids in healing. But inflammation can raise some potential health risks as well.
Here is a list of potential health risks inflammation can lead to.
Digestion and gutMuch of our immune system is actually located in our gut; therefore a healthy gut leads to a healthy body. Typically, immune cells and bacteria in the gut don’t interact, but when they do, it can lead to many health problems.
When immune cells attack the digestive tract this can lead to an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when healthy cells begin attacking other healthy cells causing inflammation. Some common digestive autoimmune disease are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
These illnesses can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. They may even lead to surgery to remove parts of the infected intestine. Although causes of these autoimmune diseases are unclear, diet, stress and genetics may all contribute to their onset.
Inflammation in the joints is a result of another autoimmune disease – rheumatoid arthritis. This can be quite painful and limit one’s mobility. This type of inflammation isn’t just limited to the joints; people with rheumatoid arthritis may experience problems with their eyes as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis has been linked to genetics as well as smoking, lack of vitamin D and diet.
When blood vessels become damaged inflammation occurs. Additionally, when fatty plaque builds up in the arteries it can lead to chronic inflammation. This build-up results in white blood cells travelling to the area, which can result in a blood clot. Blood clots and fatty plaque make it more difficult for blood to pass through, which can lead to a heart attack or heart disease.
People with autoimmune diseases are at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to inflammation. Additionally those who are overweight, eat poorly and partake in minimal physical activity also increase their risk of heart disease.
Chronic inflammation of the gums is called periodontitis. This is caused due to an accumulation of bacteria. With periodontitis, receding of the gums can be seen as well as weakening of the teeth.
Unfortunately inflammation of the gums isn’t just an oral problem. Gum inflammation has been linked to an increase of heart disease as well as dementia. Furthermore, it may spark inflammation elsewhere in the body.
Although the goal of inflammation is to protect and repair the body, it can have its consequences. Generally healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce inflammation which can be harmful. Unfortunately, though, this isn’t always the case as seen with autoimmune diseases. This is why it is best to take steps to minimize our risk.
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