Chronic Inflammation, the Main Cause of Multiple Modern Chronic Diseases - Part 1
Inflammation needs to be considered from two different aspects (in reality, three):
- Rapid, short-term acute inflammation
- Long-lasting or chronic inflammation
- Chronic inflammatory response syndrome, known as CIRS. A progressive, multi-system, multi-symptom illness, triggered by exposure to biotoxins. It may affect any system of our body and if left untreated may become debilitating (see more below).
Acute inflammation is the way our immune system has to respond to sudden injury or stimuli, such as a physical injury as cutting our finger, pathogen infection, burn from the sun or fire, chemical irritants, etc.
Basically, when an injury happens, our immune system releases inflammatory cells that travel to the site of the injury, surrounding and protecting the injured area.
So, if inflammation is brief and lasts several days or less, it is not a bad thing. It is the innate way our immune system has in order to speed up the healing and repair the damaged tissues. Keeping us safe and healthy. Critical for our survival. (1)
Acute inflammation very often causes noticeable symptoms such as:
- Muscle stiffness
- Fatigue and more
On the other hand, chronic inflammation is a silent process we may neither see nor feel anything. Often, lasting for months or even years.
Then, if chronic inflammation is left to run wild, this process may cause significant problems and severe damage to our tissues, joints, organs, and blood vessels.
The effects and extent of chronic inflammation will vary with the cause of the injury and the individual’s ability to repair and overcome the damage.
Although it is important to understand that chronic inflammation is not a specific disease. The damage caused in our body by this process is what can create a chronic disease. (2)
Chronic inflammation has some common symptoms that are usually much more subtle, including:
- Body pain
- Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, etc.
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Muscles and joint pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Frequent infections, and more
Chronic systemic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS)
Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), as the name suggests is a complex illness caused by immune system deregulation following exposure to biotoxin-producing organisms.
“Biotoxins are small, fat-soluble molecules produced by biological microorganisms, capable of causing disease on contact or by absorption by body tissues”.
You can find listed below the most well-known biotoxin-producing organisms, that can cause chronic inflammatory cascade with severe effects in our health:
- “CIRS caused by water-damaged building - Chaetomium globosum, Aspergillus penicilloides, Aspergillus versicolor, Stachybotrys chartarum, Wallemia sebi, Actinomycetes, bacteria and inflammagens
- CIRS – post-Lyme syndrome – Borrelia species
- CIRS - Possible estuarine associated syndrome (PEAS): Pfiesteria (dinoflagellate)
- CIRS - Ciguatera: Gambier discus (dinoflagellate)
- CIRS - Arachnids: Recluse spider
- CIRS - Apicomplexans: Babesia spp., Sarcocystis
- CIRS -Cyanobacteria: Microcystis, Lyngbya, Cylindrospermopsis, Anabaenopsis”
So, CIRS is a comprehensive, multi-system, multi-symptom condition that occurs when biotoxins attach to the immune cells and do not let go. And may lead to multiple system dysfunctions, if not treated. (3, 4)
Individuals with CIRS routinely present a wide range of symptoms, including (some weird ones):
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Memory and concentration problems
- Disorientation and confusion
- Vertigo and light-headedness
- Metallic taste
- Body, muscle, and joint aches and cramping
- Chronic gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, acute diarrhea, etc.
- Static shocks in the body
- Hypersensitivity to bright light, electronics, and strong smells
- Wheeze, cough, chronic upper respiratory infections, shortness of breath, and more
In the case you have long-lasting symptoms, including some of the weirdest ones described above that are not resolved by your doctor, I recommend you read Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker’s books.
Dr. Shoemaker wrote many books about chronic inflammatory illness. Then, in his latest book Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings, you can find an easy guide across diagnosing CIRS, treatments, and on how to return to good health. (5)
Also, if you need to find in your area one of Dr. Shoemaker certified practitioner please, go to Dr. Shoemaker’s website: survivingmold.com.
Measuring body inflammation
The most common way to measure inflammation is through a blood test called CRP – it stands for high sensitivity C-reactive protein. A protein that enters our bloodstream in large numbers in response to inflammation and tissue injury.
For this reason, this is a marker that can be present in various stages of inflammation and may be an early predictor of cardiovascular disease and occult atherosclerosis.
The functional reference range for CPR is between 0-1 mg/L. Ranges between 1-9 mg/L indicates systemic inflammation or can be related to pregnancy.
Then, keep in mind that CRP levels can also increase after a single, intense, and long workout since physical exercise is a type of stress that causes tissue damage upon our body. (6, 7, 8)
In addition to C-reactive protein, other non-specific markers of chronic inflammation are IL-6 Interleukin-6, Ferritin, Fibrinogen and TNF alpha.
How does chronic inflammation affect our body?
Long-lasting, or chronic inflammation may in turn be a primary cause of multiple diseases that collectively represent the leading causes of disability and mortality worldwide, called Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
Noncommunicable diseases, the world’s biggest killer
Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), includes:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic respiratory disease
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) share the same chronic, non-contagious pattern that tend to have a slow fluctuating progression.
Collectively, these diseases are considered the world’s biggest killer, responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide.
However, while these conditions do have unique features, numerous studies suggest that most of these modern chronic diseases share a similar root cause: chronic inflammation. (9, 10, 11)
Why chronic inflammation is linked with chronic illnesses?
You must be thinking; why do something that is normal and protective to our body such as inflammation can turn dysfunctional and be associated to some of the biggest killers in the world?
What happens is that inflammatory responses are genetically regulated processes supposed to be short-term that are tightly regulated and designed to restore tissue homeostasis during an emergency.
In fact, if inflammation gets out of control and chronic, the immune system will keep sending out inflammatory cells even when there is no injury to be repaired.
When we are living with chronic inflammation it can eventually compromise and damage healthy cells, tissues, organs, and our DNA. And all of these are linked to the development of several chronic diseases.
When we live with chronic inflammation, it can eventually compromise and damage our healthy cells and tissues, organs and DNA. Making us much more vulnerable to the development of several chronic diseases.
Interestingly, the scientists understand that most of the modern chronic diseases, largely new to mankind, are man-made diseases. The reason is that chronic diseases were rare to our paleolithic hunter-gatherer ancestors.
It shows us that most of the modern chronic conditions are preventable since they are the result of the rapid and radical changes in our modern diet and lifestyle. (12, 13)
Our diet and lifestyle versus chronic inflammation
Poor habits such as excessive consumption of highly processed foods, lacking vital nutrients, alcohol abuse, smoking, environmental toxins, lack of physical activity, dysregulated sleep, chronic stress, etc., are some of the main contributors to the development and progression of chronic diseases. (14,15)
Fortunately, if we stop waiting for the conventional medical approach or the newest drug and surgeries then, turn our attention to our diet and lifestyle habits, we start seeing that there is a lot we can do in order to protect our health and help our body do not become chronically inflamed.
In reality, we are a product of our choices, not a victim of our circumstances.
In the next article, I am going to talk in detail about the main causes of chronic diseases and ways to prevent chronic inflammation.
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