Understanding inflammation is one of the most important aspects of understanding how to optimize and restore health in an individual. When you dive deeply into just about every health problem that we face in the world today—anxiety, depression, fatigue, digestive problems, hormone imbalances, diabetes, heart disease, or autoimmune conditions—they are all inflammatory in nature or have an inflammatory component.
But inflammation is insidious, and it starts brewing in the body long before these diseases become noticeable, not to mention diagnosable. By the time a health problem is advanced enough to be officially diagnosed, inflammation has typically already caused significant damage to the body. For instance, a diagnosis of autoimmune adrenal issues (such as Addison’s disease) requires a 90 percent destruction of the adrenal glands. This is true for many other chronic issues – major destruction has to happen for the diagnosis of inflammatory neurological problems like multiple sclerosis or inflammatory gut conditions like celiac disease.
But the inflammation attack that occurs in these conditions does not develop overnight; it’s the end-stage event of inflammation. When someone is diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, for example, they have already been experiencing autoimmune inflammation for an average of about four to ten years. The same is true for other chronic inflammatory conditions like diabetes and heart disease. You don’t become diabetic overnight. You don’t manifest heart disease out of nowhere. Inflammation has been brewing for years before fasting blood sugar is high enough to warrant a diagnosis, or before someone has a heart attack. We all exist somewhere on an inflammation spectrum, from no inflammation to mild to moderate to diagnosis-level inflammation that has resulted in a disease state.
It’s important to address the causes and manifestations of inflammation because the time to start caring about inflammation is long before you have a serious health problem. Once you get to the diagnosis stage, the only options typically offered to people are pharmaceutical drugs. Instead, you can take proactive steps to tackle inflammation before it leads to something more serious.
But even if you are already at the point of “serious,” there are still many things you can do to reclaim your health.
Studies point to what many in functional medicine have been saying for decades: Lifestyle and foods are significant influencers to wellness or a lack of it, and I would add that lifestyle and foods are the primary methods for reducing the inflammation that leads to disease. In fact, studies estimate that about 77 percent of inflammatory reactions are determined by factors over which we have at least—our diets, our stress levels, and our exposure to pollutants, with the remainder determined by genetics. That means there is much you can do in the here and now to back down the inflammation spectrum rather than moving forward toward chronic disease.
What causes inflammation in a person (certain foods, certain exposures, certain kinds of stress) is bio-individual, and what inflammation causes in you (weight gain, fatigue, acid reflux) is also bio-individual.
Inflammation is upstream from symptoms, meaning that it can cause or worsen many symptoms. Therefore, resolving inflammation can in turn reduce or eliminate the cascade of symptoms downstream that the inflammation caused—multiple symptoms resolved with one attack plan.
Cooling inflammation often allows your body to fix the primary dysfunction on its own, resolving the symptoms naturally by eliminating their cause. Inflammation gets in the way of the body’s natural ability to heal. If you can discover your own inflammatory triggers (what is causing the inflammation in you) and where your inflammation resides, you can learn how to douse it at its source.
Inflammation can manifest in multiple areas of the body and within each of these areas, inflammation exists on a spectrum, from absent to mild to moderate to extreme—they each have their own inflammation spectrum.
This is how we solve the problem of your health issues: Lower the inflammation by customizing your diet and lifestyle to eliminate what is increasing inflammation in you and add what fights inflammation in you. Doing this is likely to directly address your chronic health issues rather than just masking your symptoms.
And how do we customize your diet and lifestyle? We use the information we gain from a personalized and carefully organized elimination diet.
- Participants will be able to discuss different types of inflammation spectrum labs to run.
- Participants will be able to discuss areas where inflammation manifests and action steps to reduce the inflammatory response in each area.
- Participants will be able to discuss the inflammation spectrum and the far-reaching implications it can have on a person’s health.