4 Ways Inflammation is Harmful to Your Health

4 Ways Inflammation is Harmful to Your Health

When the body suspects injury or infection, it responds by sending white blood cells to help fight the problem. The area then gets red and swells, which is referred to as inflammation. Oftentimes, this immune system response is beneficial and can help the area fight off the issue and heal.

Unfortunately, there are times when inflammation can remain long after an injury has healed or an infection has cleared. Furthermore, there are times when inflammation can occur without an injury or infection. For example, the immune system can produce antibodies that attack healthy tissue, such as happens with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you have an inflammatory or autoimmune disorder, it's crucial to work closely with a specialist. Here at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center, board-certified rheumatologists Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, offer advanced, patient-centered care for individuals with inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

In this post, they explain ways inflammation can harm the body and how it can be treated.

Four ways inflammation can cause harm

Here are four ways inflammation can be detrimental to your health:

1. Mental health

Inflammation has emerged as a key factor in mood disorders. Patients with depression and anxiety often show elevated levels of inflammatory substances that are secreted by certain cells of the immune system. 

What’s more, having an inflammatory disorder can heighten your risk of suffering anxiety and depression.

2. Joint damage

Chronic inflammation in joints can damage cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, and it can also cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and problems with mobility. Such is the case with an inflammatory condition called rheumatoid arthritis. With this disease, immune cells in the lining and fluid of the joint turn against the joint.

But it doesn’t stop there. These immune cells recruit other immune cells, and they travel to the affected joint and cause more damage. Over time, this damage can cause the joint to become deformed. We see this often in rheumatoid arthritis, in which the affected joint becomes misshapen.

3. Heart disease

Inflammatory substances that circulate through the bloodstream can damage blood vessels over time. Inflammation is a key underlying factor in heart disease.

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, for example, have a much higher risk of developing heart disease than those without the condition. Inflammatory substances can cause blood vessels to harden, stiffen, and become less able to function optimally. This can then set the stage for heart disease.

4. Organ damage

Nearly every organ is vulnerable to damage from long-term inflammation. The damage can accumulate over time and impact crucial organs, such as your kidneys, liver, and even your brain.

Lupus is one example where a direct autoimmune attack on specific organs can lead to damage. The goal of treatment for patients with lupus is to reduce symptoms and limit harm to the organs. 

Managing inflammation

Taking steps to reduce the body’s inflammatory burden can help protect your health in the long run. For starters, if you're diagnosed with an inflammatory disorder, working closely with an expert is key. Keeping your condition well-controlled can help limit the damage to your body.

The Valerius Medical Group & Research Center team has experience in managing a full range of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. We take advantage of the latest advances, along with clinical research, to best manage a variety of conditions, such as osteoporosis, Sjogren syndrome, scleroderma, lupus, and others.

We utilize a broad array of strategies, such as anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, and immune suppressants, to help slow organ damage and reduce symptoms. 

If you have an autoimmune or inflammatory disorder, we can help you manage your condition and stay as healthy as possible. To learn more, call 562-294-6533 to book an appointment with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.

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