For good health to exist, we all must keep inflammation under control. Whatever the disease or complaint, inflammation is bound to be a factor. Whether it is heart disease or a painful shoulder, inflammation is a key player. Controlling inflammation is probably the best health enhancing thing we can do. In fact, we must do for good health to exist.
Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a normal part of the healing process. If one injures their knee, for example, the initial symptoms of heat, swelling, and redness are normal and trigger the body to send substances to the area to aid the healing process. Pain will usually accompany the other symptoms but it can also be the only symptom and is always indicative of inflammation being present. Over time, the injury should heal and the body will neutralize the inflammatory response. Many times this does not happen for a number of reasons, and the inflammation becomes chronic and part of the problem rather than the solution. In the case of a disease, it is still a matter of what began as a healing reaction becoming a problem creating other effects that produce a myriad of symptoms. It’s like a controlled burn that gets out of control and turns into a raging wildfire. The inflammation is not the initial cause but rather a natural effect that can cause serious harm if not held in check.
What gets missed most of the time is the “why”. Why is the inflammation present? What is triggering it? In the case of an injury, the answer is obvious, but many times it is not so clear. The cause must be investigated. This is where a lot of orthodox treatments fall short. Granted, inflammation can get to levels that can be life threatening and must be treated aggressively, however, that should not be construed as the end of treatment. Just treating inflammation does not correct the cause of why it is present and that is why long term outcomes for heart disease or auto-immune diseases are not very good. The “cause” is not being addressed. Also, the medicines used to control inflammation have some side effects that can create additional symptoms.
Some of the possible triggers for inflammation beside injury are:
- Bad food
- Gut issues
There are things people are eating and drinking that promote inflammation. Some of the worst offenders are sugar (including artificial sugars), processed dairy, gluten, hydrogenated fats, and deli meats. Infection is more common than most realize. Many people are carrying viruses, for example, that are triggering inflammation and may cause a disease to develop. Many people have irritated, “leaky” intestines that promote inflammation. The eco system of the gut may also be sub optimal. It should house mostly friendly bacteria, but if it doesn’t, inflammation is a consequence. Toxic causes of inflammation are common. There are so many chemicals in our food and environment it is impossible to avoid all of them. Many people are taking drugs that add to their toxic burden. Heavy metals are abundant and very damaging. Stress creates the release of stress hormones that cause inflammation if continually produced. If any of these triggers are present and they are not addressed, the efforts to reduce inflammation will not be successful or they will be temporary. These triggers will be expanded on in a future newsletter.
There are side effects to prescription anti-inflammatories that may not make them worth the risk. If they are necessary one of my goals is to make them unnecessary as fast as possible. Many times that can be done by utilizing natural methods like herbs and enzymes. Some herbal anti-inflammatories include turmeric, ginger, green tea, olive leaf, boswellia, cat’s claw, and devil’s claw.
Enzymes are also very effective anti-inflammatories. In the case of an injury, proteolytic enzymes can help with pain and expedite healing. Bromelain is one that is very useful. Whenever there is heat with the inflammation, proteolytic enzymes are called for. For swelling, lipase is the enzyme to use. For redness, amylase is useful. Taking enzymes for inflammation should be done between meals for optimal effectiveness.
Dr. Dennis K. Crawford
Schedule a consultation today with Dr. Crawford to discuss a natural prevention and treatment plan. Call Us: 916-962-3101
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