TO YOUR HEALTH Inflammation and Its Manifestations

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BY HELENA AMOS, M.AC. L.AC., EURO. PHYSICIAN Inflammation is like an uninvited or unwanted guest. You don’t always know when or why it will show up, it can make you uncom- fortable, and getting it to leave can take time. It’s a great analogy for what happens when you are experiencing inflammation, regardless of whether it is intermittent or lingers too long. Inflammation is the term used to describe the body’s response to injury or infection. It includes the release of chemicals that cause red- ness and swelling as well as pain. The process also helps the body to fight the foreign invader and start the healing process, making it both unwelcome but sometimes necessary. The presence of inflammation is typically characterized as chronic or acute. Chronic inflammation is a sustained low grade response of the immune system over a long period of time. It is different from acute inflammation, which is a sudden and short-term response to injury or infection. Chronic inflammation can lead to serious health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and certain cancers to name a few. Inflammation As Causation The prevailing thought about inflammation is that it is a symptom of a health condition. However, what is less understood is the fact that inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation, is the causative fac - tor of many diseases in different organs. These include:

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• Chronic fatigue syndrome • Sjögren’s syndrome • Irritable bowel syndrome • High blood pressure • Migraines • Asthma, allergies • Leaky Gut syndrome • Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases • Rheumatoid arthritis and many more.

When certain pathogens attack the body — it can be a viral patho- gen like in Epstein-Barr, fungal like candida overgrowth, or bacterial like in SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or a sinus infection — they create the inflammation, which can become chronic and turn into any number of autoimmune or other diseases, where the body attacks its own cells. For patients and health care providers alike, the problem with inflammation is how complex it can be. Therefore, it’s important to find out early on what kind of inflammation a patient has in order to address the pathogen, rid the body of it, and restore the af- fected organ before the (autoimmune) disease happens or progresses. Inflammation and the Digestive Tract As discussed there are different manifestations of chronic inflam - mation, but in general, the onset is because it typically attacks the weakest system or organ in a person. One good example of this is how chronic inflammation can damage the digestive tract. In the case of bacterial, fungal and viral infections, chronic inflam - mation can be caused by the over-exuberant or prolonged release of inflammatory factors, such as cytokines or chemokines — small se - creted proteins released by cells that affect cell communication. The chronic inflammatory response is a perpetual increase in the produc -

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PATHWAYS—Spring 23—25

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