Inflammation is typically a normal part of the healing process. The process of inflammation activates your immune system and helps your body rid itself of toxins or pathogens that pose a threat. It can also prompt your body to repair damaged tissues. Acute inflammation is easily recognizable because of the short-term effects, but chronic inflammation often occurs at a low, consistent level that makes it almost undetectable without testing.
About Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation occurs when your body continually reacts to some internal or external stressor by maintaining a low-grade immune response. Chronic inflammation can cause a breakdown in immune tolerance. Immune tolerance is your body’s ability to recognize certain substances as safe and non-threatening. Damaging your immune tolerance can cause your body to treat safe substances or objects like healthy cells as threats and attack them needlessly.
Another side effect of chronic inflammation is an impaired immune system that can’t respond adequately to threats like viruses and bacteria. Since vaccines are meant to trigger an immune response, a weak immune system makes vaccinations less effective.
Risk Factors and Causes of Chronic Inflammation
To a certain extent, aging is an almost unavoidable risk factor for chronic inflammation. Cell senescence, the permanent end of a cell’s growth and ability to reproduce that occurs as people age, triggers the production of certain proteins linked to inflammation. However, there are also many lifestyle factors that put people at risk of developing chronic inflammation.
Research shows that diseases related to chronic inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, are more common in Westernized countries than those that have more unprocessed and raw diets. Inflammatory diets that include large amounts of red meat, processed food, refined sugars, and high fructose corn syrup put individuals at risk of increased inflammation.
A Sedentary Lifestyle
A processed, refined diet is one risk factor and cause of inflammation, but a lack of physical activity is also a cause. One small study found that people that were physically active had a lower circulation of inflammatory proteins and cholesterol than inactive people.
In some cases, environmental factors can cause chronic inflammation. Toxic chemicals can irritate and cause inflammation in certain parts of the body, like the throat or skin. Smoking is a known risk factor for inflammation, but consistent exposure to secondhand smoke can also have a similar effect.
Physical inactivity and a poor diet can put oxidative stress on your body. Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance of oxidants and antioxidants in the body. Some oxidants that interact harmfully with other molecules and cause cell death and damaged proteins are called reactive oxygen species. Oxidants are normally released during acute inflammation, but chronic inflammation causes a buildup of these molecules that the body can’t adequately eliminate. A diet that’s low in antioxidants means a person can’t fight oxidative stress.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
The signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation are often almost unnoticeable because of their subtlety. If a person’s chronic inflammation has contributed to a disease like osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease, they may notice symptoms related to that disease and its progression.
Someone with chronic inflammation might have no visible symptoms. With lab testing, however, you can find invisible signs of chronic inflammation.
Lab Tests for Chronic Inflammation
Lab tests for chronic inflammation measure your blood's levels of certain inflammation markers by running your sample through a series of tests. One of these is an erythrocyte sedimentation rate or sed rate test. This test can indirectly determine your body’s current inflammatory response to stressors like a disease.
One sign of inflammation may be raised levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). The C-Reactive protein (CRP) test measures the amount of this protein, which is made by the liver. An increase in CRP levels in a person's bloodstream can indicate a condition that causes inflammation. A CRP test can detect inflammation caused by acute conditions and can help monitor the severity of disease in chronic conditions.
Chronic inflammation tests might also test for lipids like cholesterol, iron, and uric acid. These tests are the best way to determine your body’s inflammation.
How Can You Tell If You Have Chronic Inflammation?
The best way to tell if you have chronic inflammation is through a test. Symptoms can be undetectable and you may not feel any different. If you have inflammatory conditions related to chronic inflammation, like Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis, the symptoms of this disease are signs of inflammation.
How Do You Stop Chronic Inflammation?
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce chronic inflammation. Increasing your physical activity and adopting a diet similar to the ones found in the Mediterranean region are two ways to support the anti-inflammatory process. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help fend off oxidative stress, which can be a cause of inflammation.
Is There A Test for Chronic Inflammation?
Yes, Ulta Lab Tests offers tests for chronic inflammation that examine a number of substances in the blood, including gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), lipids, iron and C-reactive protein. Our chronic inflammation test also includes antinuclear antibody, CBC, SED rate, comprehensive metabolic panel and rheumatoid factor tests.
Benefits of Chronic Inflammation Testing with Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests so you can make informed decisions about your health.
- Secure and confidential results
- No insurance or doctor's referral is needed
- Affordable pricing
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
Our chronic inflammation tests can help you determine your risk factor for illnesses associated with inflammation and give you another tool to stop the progression of inflammation before it becomes severe. Order your chronic inflammation lab tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.
Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.