All About Inflammation – by Ashley Boynes-Shuck

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Inflammation plays a huge role in rheumatic ailments such as arthritis…but what, exactly, is inflammation?

According to Medical News today, “Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. Inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens – and begin the healing process. When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it, the signs and symptoms of inflammation, specifically acute inflammation, show that the body is trying to heal itself.”

In autoimmune conditions, though, this immune response is faulty, and, with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, for example, inflammation attacks healthy tissues.

So, what can be done about inflammation?

Of course, there are medications such as anti-inflammatories and biologic drugs that can decrease inflammation. There are also natural supplements that could do so, and, dietary measures that can be taken. (Some examples are eliminating dairy, cutting out sugar and refined flours, drinking green tea, eating more fish, etc.)

Inflammation doesn’t always have to equal pain or disability. It can be managed and treated, but, like many symptoms of these conditions, it can be a nuisance and can also lead to pain and discomfort, and sometimes, immobility.

That being said, inflammation IS a crucial part to our body’s pathology, as is our immune system – so we can’t fully fault this process in general — when it works, it works, but it seems with rheumatic disease patients that it works almost TOO well.

Medical News Today also says, “Inflammation is part of our body’s immune response. Initially, it is beneficial when, for example, your knee sustains a blow and tissues need care and protection. However, sometimes inflammation can cause further inflammation; it can become self-perpetuating. More inflammation is created in response to the existing inflammation.”

The best we can do is just cope with inflammation by taking our doctors’ advice on medications or natural treatments, and by also adjusting our lifestyle to make it a more healthful one. Meditation, daily exercise, proper sleep, good hydration, and a nutritious diet are just some ways that we can improve our health and more properly manage the inflammatory process.

Good luck!

Stay Well,

Ashley Boynes-Shuck

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