Five signs of “silent inflammation” and why it’s dangerousadmin
Inflammation in the body has many faces and can trigger diseases such as diabetes, depression or cancer. How you can recognize the smoldering fires yourself and what role our immune system plays.
5 signs of silent inflammation
Lack of energy, tiredness , recurring colds – the signs of inflammation in the body are varied and sometimes not very clear. This is another reason why they often remain undiscovered for a long time.
Inflammation is an important early warning system: if our body detects an intruder, such as a virus or bacteria, it defends itself in the form of inflammation. They are vital – but if they last too long or become chronic, the opposite is true. In the recent past, there has been a growing body of knowledge on the subject: so-called “silent inflammation” can be the reason for cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart attacks in the body. They can even cause cancer and autoimmune diseases. High time to take a closer look.
The first signs can be different and range from constant tiredness and fatigue to diarrhea and a high susceptibility to infections.
They flare up again only through certain stimuli
“Inflammation is a reaction of our immune system to diseased cells or dead tissue. Invaders should be eliminated or rendered harmless. They are either localized or affect the entire organism, such as in autoimmune diseases,” explains internist Renate Zach . The senior physician at the Graz University Hospital combines her knowledge of fasting medicine, orthomolecular medicine and acupuncture in her work as an integrative doctor.
A distinction is made between acute and chronic inflammation: the former occur suddenly, for example with a flu infection. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, begins insidiously with an often intermittent course and can also be the result of an acute inflammation that has not healed. “The classics are stray tooth foci, sinus infections that have not been cleaned up or encapsulated abscesses in the body. From there, bacteria can spread again and again through the bloodstream throughout the body and cause damage to the heart muscle or heart valves, for example,” explains Zach. Chronic inflammation is particularly insidious because it is often discovered very late. They run under the body’s radar, so to speak, and only flare up again and again through certain stimuli.
Currently, about every fifth cancer is associated with chronic inflammatory processes in the body. Neuroscientists have found that underlying inflammation can trigger depression. Chronic intestinal inflammation, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, are also consequences. “Inflammation that is not accompanied by the classic symptoms such as fever and is not caused by bacteria or viruses, but manifests itself more or less unnoticed in the body, is summarized under the term ‘silent inflammation’ – i.e. ‘silent inflammation’.” , according to Kurt Widhalm, President of the Austrian Academic Institute for Nutritional Medicine. “The mechanisms that play a role in this are not known exactly, there is no really clear data.”
The first signs can be different and range from constant tiredness and weakness to diarrhea to a high susceptibility to infection, because the permanent smoldering weakens the immune system – the body gets caught in a vicious circle; the weakened immune system can no longer properly cope with the inflammation. “Changes in the blood count are shown in the laboratory: there is an increase or decrease in white blood cells and an increase in inflammatory proteins such as CRP and procalcitonin, and the blood sedimentation rate is increased,” says Zach.
The causes of “silent” inflammation
The most common cause of chronic inflammation is a combination of poor diet, too little exercise, and too much stress . “Permanent stress leads to the body constantly releasing the stress hormone cortisol,” explains Claudia Mainau,Doctor for general medicine and Ayurveda. “Cortisol is one of the main anti-inflammatory hormones in the body, but if it’s constantly being released, it eventually loses that effect.” Exercise and relaxation methods like yoga and meditation have been shown to lower cortisol levels in the body. Food can also have a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effect. “A healthy diet with a high proportion of fruit and vegetables, with healthy proteins and fats, whole grain products, little meat, processed meat products and sugar can significantly improve the inflammatory factors in the body – just like regular exercise,” emphasizes Widhalm.
So what should you do if you suspect an infection, if you feel generally unwell, or if you “take every cold with you” in autumn and winter? Conventional and complementary medicine complement each other very well, especially when it comes to the extensive topic of inflammation in the body. If the classic anti-inflammatory cortisone does not help (anymore), other causes are investigated in Ayurveda, TCM or acupuncture. The focus is usually more on prevention and the activation of one’s own self-healing powers. Widhalm: “For me, there is a scientifically and empirically dominated medicine. But sometimes you don’t know what to do in conventional medicine, then other forms of therapy can help. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be a separation.” Because as diverse as the symptoms of a silent inflammation can be,
FIVE SIGNS OF INFLAMMATION
The five cardinal symptoms of acute inflammation are:
TUMOR = SWELLING: The inflamed tissue is swollen.
RUBOR = REDNESS: Redness appears in the affected area.
CALOR = WARMTH: The focus of inflammation feels warm.
DOLOR = PAIN: The inflamed area hurts.
FUNCTIO LAESA = FUNCTIONAL RESTRICTION: The inflamed tissue cannot fulfill its function.
Symptoms of a hidden or chronic inflammation are usually not so clear. A so-called “silent inflammation” (“silent inflammation”) can become noticeable through the following signs:
General fatigue and weakness
(New) food intolerances
If in doubt, go to the doctor. If there is suspicion, a blood count can show inflammation in the organism.