Good and Bad Inflammation, What Is the Difference?
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to injury and infection. However, sometimes the body’s inflammatory response works overtime, causing several health conditions.
When the body is working correctly, inflammation occurs when you’re sick or injured. This kind of inflammation is a good thing. Chemicals in the bodywork to fight infections and heal injuries by heading to damaged tissues to treat them with blood, fluid, and proteins or by protecting and repairing damaged tissues with swelling and heat.
This good, or “acute,” inflammation gathers up immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators to clear out damaged tissue, initiate repairs, and eliminate the cause of cell injury. One of the key elements of acute inflammation is that it goes away once it does its job.
In contrast, bad inflammation occurs when your body has an inflammation response without injury or illness. The body’s immune response can overfire, which causes low levels of inflammation that can’t seem to dissipate, causing bad, or “chronic,” inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can cause problems of its own and is a factor in conditions like arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, blindness, cancer, and diabetes.
What Causes Bad or Chronic Inflammation?
Common causes of chronic inflammation include:
- An undiagnosed food sensitivity
- Exposure to irritants, such as environmental pollutants
- Chronic stress
- Autoimmune disorders
Identifying the causes of chronic inflammation serves as an essential step in treatment.
Determining the Cause of Chronic Inflammation
There are many ways your healthcare provider can work with you to identify the cause of your chronic inflammation. Some tests that may determine inflammation causes include:
- Food sensitivity testing
- Fatty acid profile
- Inflammation Patient Assessment Panel, which tests:
- High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Element analysis
In addition to testing for the source of your inflammation, you may also benefit from altering your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods, which may help your body calm its inflammatory response. For example, the foods included in the Mediterranean diet may provide some relief and support your immune response.