Have you ever been stung by a bee? The wound becomes red and swollen, sometimes developing a pustule. It is hot to the touch, itchy, and undoubtedly painful. These are all symptoms of acute inflammation. Acute inflammation occurs as a way of healing wounds or reacting to foreign entities in the body. It is short-lived and situational. Now, imagine this process occuring at various places inside you body all the time.
Inflammation becomes dangerous once it becomes chronic. Constant firing of inflammatory chemicals undoubtedly cause severe damage to tissues. Some people may experience chronic inflammation in one area of their bodies, while many people may not even know where they exactly they experience it, or if they are experiencing it at all.
It is now known that chronic inflammation plays a significant role in our health decline. You see, chronic inflammation has a tendency to manifest itself through a plethora of other health issues – at its worse, leading to persistent illnesses. Left untreated, chronic inflammation is at the root of premature aging and disease.
Inflammation is beneficial… until it’s not
When inflammation is acute, it poses little threat to our health. Acute reactions occur in cases of trauma, stings, bites, burns, and bacteria. They may also occur as a response to toxins entering the body, such as a binge on processed foods. When body tissues are affected by toxicity, they release chemicals which the immune system recognizes as a firing signal. The immune system then responses with its own chemical version of bleach and hydrogen peroxide to eliminate the threat.
The process of acute inflammation is capable of becoming chronic, meaning the immune system is in constant firing-mode. Long-term, this results in the destruction of tissues and prompts even more bodily reactions that can be deadly.
Here are the nine most common results of chronic inflammation:
~ Multiple organ diseases
According to this study, inflammatory proteins cause various reactions in the body. When chronically exposed, organs such as your heart, pancreas, liver, lungs, kidneys, intestines, ovaries, and even your brain are at risk. Chronic inflammation can damage any of these organs or completely inhibit their function.
If affecting the brain, chronic inflammation can lead to a number of neurodegenerative diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
~ Mood Disorders
Chronic inflammation leads to lower dopamine levels in the brain. Scientists continue to expand their understanding of the connection between inflammation and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. According to this study, alterations in dopamine as a result of inflammatory reactions not only lead to depressive symptoms but are also shown to reduce the effects of common anti-depression treatments.
~ Increased Risk of Cancer
The National Cancer Institute finds that people who experience chronic inflammation are at a higher risk of developing cancer. This is because, over long periods of time, inflammation causes DNA damage, leading to the disease. This study published in 2017 estimates that about 25% of human cancers are contributed to by chronic inflammation.
~ Reproductive health concerns
Chronic inflammation many times results in the disruption of ovulation patterns and hormone production. It is also associated with endometriosis, a painful disorder that threatens fertility. Inflammation may also affect fertility by making it more difficult for implantation to successfully occur, or for an embryo to fully develop. Check out these studies for more details.
In 2011 scientists also discovered that women who were affected by inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, arthritis, IBS, and lupus were at an increased risk of menopause before the age of 45 and ovarian failure.
~ Loss of function
Chronic inflammation is at the root of joint diseases such as arthritis. What’s more, chronic inflammation can cause swelling in various parts of the body, including muscle tissue. As a result, full mobility can be compromised. In some cases, inflammation leads to complete loss of function of areas like the hands and knees.
~ Skin concerns
Eczema and psoriasis are understood as chronic inflammatory conditions, but according to this study, acne should also be considered inflammatory at its roots. Redness, flaking, puffiness, itchiness, and dryness are all symptoms of the inflammatory process as it affects areas of the skin. These areas may be widespread on the body, or isolated.
~ Low energy levels
Because of inflammation’s effect on lowering dopamine levels, lethargy and lack of motivation may go hand in hand with other mood disorder symptoms. Additionally, some inflammatory proteins act similarly to antihistamines. This leads to an overall feeling of “grogginess” and exhaustion.
Bloating may be one of the first symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a chronic inflammatory condition that affects 24 percent of women, according to this Hopkins Medicine article. Bloating may also occur as an inflammatory response to processed foods, which your body recognizes as a source of toxins.
~ Brain “fog”
Inflammation may be affecting your cognitive abilities. Brain “fog” is characterized by loss of memory, reduced cognition, lack of concentration, and inability to multitask. According to this study, Brain “fog” is a symptom of chronic inflammation and inflammatory diseases. It occurs when inflammation is present in the brain.
How Cryotherapy Can Help
Because the inflammatory process is innate in all of us, its prevalence in health decline is so widespread. Our individual immune sensitivity varies. Inflammation can be the result of anything from the industrial air we breathe, to things even further out of our control, like normal acute inflammation that progresses to the chronic stage.
Cryotherapy is a valuable treatment for people already affected by inflammation but also serves as a preventative therapy.
As the immune system endlessly fires inflammatory chemicals, damaging tissues, cryotherapy works by producing an abundance of norepinephrine in your system. Norepinephrine is an extraordinarily potent anti-inflammatory, targetting the specific areas that the immune cells attack, reducing any continuing damage. Over time, the increase in norepinephrine as a result of cryo may inhibit the overactivity of the immune system as well. It does so by reducing TNF-alpha, one of the chief inflammatory proteins that signal to the immune system to fire.
Cryotherapy proves an excellent addition to your health routine. Many of our own clients have a wipeout of that pesky brain “fog”, gaining more energy and an improved mood. Others have even seen improved joint and muscle function.
Come on into the CryoBar to check out cryotherapy for yourself and feel the change it offers your body and mental health.