Inflammatory arthritis is a term used to describe a condition characterized by pain, swelling, soreness and warmth in the joints, as well as morning stiffness that lasts more than an hour. The most common forms are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus), gout and ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
In case of these diseases, the immune system does not function properly and releases inflammatory chemicals that attack common tissues. The resulting inflammation attacks the tissues and can cause joint swelling, increased joint fluid, cartilage and bone damage and muscle loss. Inflammation activates the nerves that cause pain as well.
PAIN DUE TO INLAMMATION CAN BE CAUSED BY:
Synovitis – A thin membrane (synovium) lining the joints becomes inflamed, releasing chemicals that irritate the nerves and increase fluid in the joint (water in the joint). Synovitis is also a common symptom of some forms of inflammatory arthritis. In these patients, the overgrowth of the synovium is part of an abnormal immune response in which the body misidentifies cartilage as a foreign substance that must be attacked. Cartilage loss eventually damages the joint surface and leads to stiffness and pain characteristic of all types of arthritis. (Osteoarthritis, a more common form of arthritis, does not include this type of inflammatory process.) The main symptom is pain. The pain caused by synovitis is usually more severe than expected based on the appearance of the joint. In other words, there can be no visible signs of injury or swelling causing pain. The symptoms are often short-term and can be felt in different parts of the body at different times. However, when synovitis is caused by joint overuse, the pain usually remains in one place.
Bone erosion – is characteristic for rheumatoid arthritis and is associated with disease severity and poor functional outcome. Erosion of the periarticular cortical bone, a typical feature observed on ordinary X-rays in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, is the result of excessive local bone resorption and inadequate bone formation. The major causes of articular bone erosion are synovitis, including the production of proinflammatory cytokines and receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) as well as antibodies directed against citrullinated proteins.
SIGNS THAT INDICATE INFLAMMATION IN THE BODY
Chronic inflammation causes chronic diseases. Reducing inflammation prevents age-related diseases and contributes to the good condition of the body. When it comes to inflammation caused by inflammatory arthritis, early diagnosis and treating that inflammation is the best way to limit joint damage, pain and other effects of inflammatory, autoimmune types of arthritis. Besides medical treatments, inflammation can be reduced or avoided by a healthy lifestyle, which implies a healthy and proper diet and exercise. Some of the symptoms that indicate inflammation in the body:
- Fat around the waist – Fat cells stimulate the formation of chemicals causing inflammation.
- Higher blood sugar lever – Increases the number of inflammatory cytokines that travel through the blood.
- Digestive problems – nausea, heartburn and abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, bloating can be signs of leaky gut and gastritis and inflammatory conditions that need to be recognized in time to prevent the onset of additional symptoms.
HOW DOES CHRONIC INFLAMMATION AFFECTS YOUR BODY?
Inflammation (swelling) is part of the body’s natural healing system helping to fight injuries and infections. But it doesn’t just happen in response to injuries and illnesses. An inflammatory response can also occur when the immune system goes into action without injury or infection caused. Because there is nothing to heal, the cells of the immune system that normally protect us begin to destroy healthy arteries, organs and joints.
If your diet is not healthy, you are not moving enough and you are stressed, the body responds by triggering inflammation. Chronic inflammation can have harmful consequence over the long-term. So the food you eat, the quality of sleep you get and how much you exercise matters when it comes to reducing inflammation.
Early symptoms of chronic inflammation can be unclear, with subtle signs and symptoms that can go undetected for a long time. Maybe you might feel tired or even normal. As inflammation progresses, it begins to damage the arteries, organs, and joints. When not treated, it can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, blood vessels disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.
Immune system cells that cause inflammation contribute to the buildup of fat in the mucous membranes of the heart’s arteries. These plaques may eventually rupture, causing a clot that can potentially block the artery. In case of a blockage, the result is a heart attack.
The most common way of measuring inflammation is a blood test for C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), which is a marker of inflammation. Doctors also measure homocysteine levels to evaluate chronic inflammation and blood sugar to detect damage to red blood cells.
HOW TO REDUCE RISK OF CHRONIC INFLAMMATION?
Inflammation can be controlled through a healthy lifestyle. Follow these 6 advices for reducing inflammation in the body: :
1. Eating anti-inflammatory foods – food choices are just as important as medicines and nutritional supplements that can contribute to overall health as act protective against inflammation. Eat more fruits and vegetables and foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish such as salmon and tuna and tofu, nuts, flax seeds and soybeans. Other anti-inflammatory foods include grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, olive oil, tea and some spices (ginger, rosemary, turmeric). The Mediterranean diet is an example of an anti-inflammatory diet as it is based on fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains with a limited intake of unhealthy fats such as red meat, butter and egg yolks as well as processed and refined sugars and carbohydrates.
2. Reduce or eliminate inflammatory foods – An anti-inflammatory diet also limits foods that promote inflammation. Inflammatory foods include red meat and everything with trans fats, such as margarine, corn oil, deep-fried foods, and most processed foods.
3. Control your blood sugar – Limit or avoid simple carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar. One simple rule to follow is to avoid white foods, such as white bread, rice and pasta, as well as foods made with white sugar and flour. Create meals based on protein from poultry and fish meat and whole foods rich in fiber, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grain like brown rice and whole- grain bread. Read product declarations to be sure what you are eating.
4. Take time for physical activity – Regular exercise is a great way to prevent inflammation. Walk each day for at least 30 minutes a day and do strength exercises for about 25 minutes four times a week.
5. Lose weight – overweight people are more prone to inflammation. Weight loss can reduce inflammation. In addition, if you suffer from bone and joint disease problems, losing weight will be a great relief to your musculature.
6. Learn to manage stress – chronic stress contributes to inflammation. Meditate, practice yoga, or find something else that makes you relax. Although it is not possible to avoid stress in life, we can learn to manage it. It is also important to remember that measures are being taken to reduce inflammation as it improves health and reduces the risk of new health problems.