Why Inflammation Hurts

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Why Inflammation Hurts

Inflammation is very complex.

It actually consists of 2 parts:  the pro-inflammatory “attack” phase and the anti-inflammatory “rejuvenation” phase.

In the first phase, your body wages an immunological battle, which creates pain, swelling, and redness.

This attack phase is relatively well understood.

The second phase, where your body has to rejuvenate the damage incurred during the battle, isn’t as well understood.

Yet, this second phase is the most fascinating part of inflammation because it holds the key to maintaining wellness.

Immunological Link to Inflammation

Every army needs soldiers, and your immunological army is no different.

The soldiers critical to the “attack” phase fall into 5 distinct battle groups:

1.  Chemical mediators

2.  Complement systems

3.  Eicosanoids

4.  Cytokines, and

5.  Immunological attack cells.

Like any army, these soldiers are housed in barracks until called to action.

Once they get the signal, they immediately launch into combat.

The first chemical mediator sent into battle is histamine.

Histamine is an alarm system alerting your troops an attack on your body has begun.

Its main function is to dilate blood vessels, trigger other soldiers into action and let them reach the site of injury quickly.

It also starts defensive measures, like contracting the airways in your lungs and increasing the secretion of mucus from your nose.

Histamine is then quickly deactivated.

Other inflammatory mediators work alongside histamine and activate the complement system.

This system is very complex and made up of 20 proteins signaling the rest of your army to be ready for action.

The complement system then arrives at the injured site and the main soldiers, eicosanoids, now enter the battlefield.

They have the real job of opening the blood vessels to let the tanks (immune cells) onto the battlefield.

The “bad” eicosanoids are released into battle causing fever (heat is a great way to kill invaders) and triggering pain.

Other eicosanoids cause swelling and give chemical signals, like flares, to your immune cells to show the enemy’s location.

They also cause bronchial constriction and mucus secretion.

Inflammation then causes swelling.

Redness and heat are also associated with inflammation, both due to increased blood flow.

So now you know what causes 3 (swelling, redness, and heat) of the 4 main signs of inflammation.

But where does pain come from?

Not surprisingly, pain is also triggered by eicosanoids.

Pain is a warning signal telling you to protect the injured part of your body by resting it.

The swelling touches off surrounding nerve endings.

This is especially true in spaces with a very limited ability to expand, like under your fingernail or in your gums.

Just to make sure your brain gets the message, these same eicosanoids also increase the sensitivity of your nerve fibers.

All you really know is it hurts.

Once the eicosanoids hit the battlefield, the heavy hitters come into action:  the immune cells.

These white blood cells are activated for battle when they get a signal from cytokines.

The cytokines help you save energy for battle by depressing your appetite and increasing your need for sleep.

They also cause the release of other proteins to help in the final battle.

After they’re activated by the cytokines, immune cells have to squeeze through your blood vessels onto the battlefield.

Once at the battle site, the white blood cells attach to the target, then engulf it, kill it, and digest the remains.

No remains are left behind.

Your white blood cells also use free radicals to kill target cells, but, unfortunately, they also kill nearby healthy cells.

Antioxidants, which fight free radicals, can help prevent damage to these healthy cells.

Anti-inflammatory nutrients (like fish oil, sesame oil, and extra-virgin olive oil) are beneficial because they regulate the first inflammatory response without compromising your white cells.

Constant inflammation is a surefire way to accelerate the aging process.

Low-level inflammation is caused by an inflammatory response never completely turned off.

It just happens at a slower pace and lower intensity, but causes you to develop chronic diseases at an earlier age.

But what if this inflammatory process could be used to improve the way your body repairs itself?

Could this turn back the clock on aging?

Come join us on our natural weight loss journey!  We’d love to have you along!

Have an awesome day!

(Based on Dr. Barry Sears’ “The Anti-Inflammation Zone”)

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Dick and Lenay

email: lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657

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