Mind Body Restoration

Common Inflammatory Diseases and Reducing Risk

Is inflammation good or bad? 

Inflammation actually plays a pretty essential role in healing and injury repair. It also alerts you–through redness, swelling, pain, and/or warmth in the area of injury when something requires more attention. This helps to fight infection and protect the body. Too much inflammation lingering for a long period of time can cause problems. When the body consistently responds in this way, it overworks itself, and white blood cells can begin to attack healthy tissue and organs.  How-to-reduce-inflammation-1

As a result, research has shown that chronic, or ongoing, inflammation is associated with some of the top causes of morbidity: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, fatty liver, cancer, arthritis, and gastrointestinal diseases. Alarmingly, recent research has confirmed that chronic inflammatory diseases are recognized as the most significant cause of death with more than 50% of all deaths related to inflammation-related diseases. Some scientists even attribute chronic inflammation to dementia, Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative disorders. Indeed, inflammatory diseases are not only linked to physical health problems, but mental conditions as well.  

So, to answer the question, “Is inflammation good or bad?”, acute inflammation is necessary and important to protect our body from infection, but chronic inflammation definitely contributes to poor health outcomes, and oftentimes directly correlates to disease, and even death.   

Common Chronic Inflammatory Diseases 

When chronic inflammation persists within the body, it causes damage to tissues and organs over an extended period of time. As a result, many individuals with chronic inflammation also suffer from some of these common chronic inflammatory diseases: 

  • Cardiovascular Disease 
  • Cardiovascular disease is an overarching term used to describe many medical conditions including heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, arrhythmia, and coronary artery disease. Current data indicates that cardiovascular disease represents the main cause of death worldwide and countless studies provide proof that inflammation represents a significant risk to cardiovascular disease. One reason to explain this phenomenon is because of increased levels of inflammatory cytokines. Pain associated with these conditions includes chest pain, tightness, and pressure, pain in neck and back, and even numbness in legs and arms.  
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • This disease is marked by painful swelling caused by inflammation throughout the body. Rheumatoid arthritis typically impacts the joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. The inflammation causes damage to the healthy tissues in the joints, which results in pain, lack of balance, and even deformities.  
  • Diabetes 
  • Also referred to as diabetes mellitus, there are several types of diabetes. However, the description relates to how the body uses glucose. There is a growing consensus that understanding the mechanisms that link inflammation to diabetes could reveal a strategy to control diabetes and related complications. Studies show the future of diabetes research clearly involves more anti-inflammatory approaches. By reducing inflammation in the body the effects of diabetes may also be reduced.  
  • Chronic Kidney Disease 
  • Often called “CKD,” chronic kidney disease is rarely diagnosed in its early stages, and once its symptoms are visible, the condition is irreversible.  The kidney receives ¼ of the entire blood volume, but it does not have defenses to prevent harm caused by the persistent aggression of inflammatory responses. Persistent, low-grade inflammation has been recognized as a component of CKD, playing a unique role in its pathophysiology. Therefore, many scientists now recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to help with CKD. 
  • Cancer 
  • The relationship between cancer and inflammation is a widely accepted truth in the scientific world, but according to recent data, inflammation has been proven as a critical component of tumor progression. Because many cancers arise from sites of infection, chronic irritation, and inflammation, these insights have led researchers to explore anti-inflammatory therapeutic approaches to cancer.  

Reducing Risk of Chronic Inflammatory Diseases 

If left unaddressed, chronic inflammation can turn your body against you, damaging healthy cells, tissue, and organs. To reduce your risk of chronic inflammatory disease, most experts recommend these basic lifestyle changes: 

  • Change your diet - Eat lots of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and fish! Most healthcare professionals support the Mediterranean diet, which prioritizes anti-inflammatory recipes. It is also important to eliminate artificial sweeteners and processed foods, and avoid excess alcohol and smoking. 
  • Manage stress - This is easier said than done, but research shows that long-term stress negatively impacts your body and increases inflammation. So, get a massage, go to acupuncture, or meditate! 
  • Catch some ZZZs - Healthy sleep patterns give your body the time it needs to recuperate and combat unnecessary inflammatory responses. Plus, you’ll feel more relaxed and energized as well! 
  • Get moving! - Physical activity is great for maintaining a healthy weight (another way to decrease risk of inflammation) but it is also great for improving mental health and happiness!  

Unsurprisingly, these suggestions are also the lifestyle changes “prescribed” for individuals suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases (like those listed above).  


Clearly, chronic inflammation has an intriguing role to play in the onset and continuation of many life-altering diseases. The list above is only a few of the most common diseases linked to chronic inflammation.  

Interestingly, studies show that differences in chronic inflammation-related diseases are apparent in different countries and cultures. For individuals who live Western lifestyles in industrialized areas, these disease rates are dramatically higher than individuals living in non-Westernized populations. As the evidence suggests, dietary and lifestyle habits, as well as environmental factors, can increase oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. In a study of 210 sets of healthy twins, non-heritable factors were found to be the strongest contributors to differences in chronic inflammation.  

This is good news though, because it means we have some control over improving inflammation outcomes and thereby decreasing our risk of inflammation-related diseases. Experts continue to advocate for anti-inflammatory lifestyles to enhance wellbeing and improve health outcomes, prioritizing efforts at the local and national level. Of course, there is still much work to be done to fully realize the impact of inflammation on human health, but the science certainly seems to point to a strong correlation between health, longevity, and chronic inflammation. 


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