When you hear the word 'inflammation,' people think of elderly people wringing their hands due to arthritis or a sprained ankle that becomes red, swollen, and painful due to the injury. These are indeed signs and symptoms of inflammation, but the pain may go beyond what we see.
Inflammation can cause pain of varying types and severity. The symptoms can range from redness, swelling, tenderness, heat, and areas of the body that feel a throbbing, pulsating, stabbing, or pinching pain due to injury or tissue damage. Due to inflammation, our system may feel compromised, causing the body temperature to spike. A fever or temperature spike of 100.4 degrees F or higher is the body's way of fighting infection, an inflammatory response mechanism of the immune system. The symptoms of inflammation may be painful and uncomfortable, but our bodies usually recover.
When our bodies are under 24/7 attack from chronic inflammation, it can take a toll on our day-to-day routine, and no matter what type of inflammation a person has, the symptoms are similar, such as pain, swelling, and sometimes joint disfigurement.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that affects millions of people. It is commonly known as OA, and it affects the joints, usually in the hands, knees, hips, neck, and lower back. With this type of arthritis, cartilage, bones, ligaments, fat, and the tissue lining of the joint begins to degrade over time, resulting in pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.
Obesity plays a role in increasing immune response. This increased immune response causes the body to generate excessive inflammation, leading to several chronic diseases. Being overweight can be a health issue and contributes to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Excessive nutrients and weight gain put pressure on joints and the metabolic tissues and cells; it's known as Metainflammation, the metabolic inflammatory state associated with obesity. It's initiated by macrophages that live in the colon, liver, muscle, and fat tissue. Macrophages are part of the immune system and are needed to fight infection.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory condition that impacts people of all ages. In RA, the body's immune system attacks itself and causes joint damage and dysfunction over time. The cause of RA is unknown, though researchers believe it may be genetic, environmental, or related to the previous infection.
While there is no cure for arthritis, diet is certainly a lifestyle factor that makes a difference. Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and citrus fruit are a source of antioxidants, which may be beneficial in reducing inflammation. Polyphenols from green tea, berries, cabbage family, green leafy vegetables, and red wine may aid in the reduction of inflammation.
Tips on Reducing Inflammation
- Lose weight if overweight. Even a 5 lb weight loss reduces 20 lbs. of pressure on your knees.
- Eat more anti-inflammatory foods.
- Eliminate inflammatory foods that trigger inflammation.
- Control blood sugar.
- Do some form of exercise daily.
- Manage stress.
- Have your vitamin D level checked and replaced if deficient.
We'd love to learn more about your experience with inflammation. How do you tackle the pain?
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