According to an article in the Los Angeles Times,and numerous other sources, chronic inflammation is caused by an immune system that has run amok, and it leads to a host of illnesses and diseases. These include Alzheimer's, diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few of the usual suspects.

There is no hard and fast proof of this, but there is apparently enough evidence to convene a grand jury of health researchers. This evidence has researchers advising us to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, and reduce fat deposits that pump out the chemicals that drive the inflammation. Gee, eat right and exercise. Where have I heard this before?

In instances of an injury or wound or bug bite, inflammation is a good thing. It's what causes redness, swelling, and heat to surround the affected area. It's the body trying to heal itself.

However, as we get older, the inflammation response may not shut off, and chronic, low-level inflammation takes up residence. In fact, doctors see inflammation as part of heart disease. When plaque builds up in arterial walls, the immune system sees it as an invader and attacks it. They think this is why plaque may burst, because of the ongoing inflammation that has damaged arterial walls in a revved up immune response.

Researchers also think this is why abdominal fat in particular, can lead to diabetes. Fat used to be thought of as nothing more than storage, but now is seen as a hotbed of inflammation; fat also produces certain hormones that you may not need at a particular time. Diabetes is an immune response with inflammation: the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin.

Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis are also thought to be caused by inflammation. Regular arthritis is also; inflammatory cells called cytokines lead to the production of enzymes that break down cartilage in joints. This is another reason to do a regular program of fasting--it can clean the system and let the body heal some of the conditions that lead to inflammation.

Inflammation promotes the release of free radicals, which we know are like little revolutionaries--they are dangerous forms of oxygen that can damage DNA. All of these inflammatory immune responses were meant to protect us until we passed the age of reproduction. As we have outlived that function, the response has lead to these other diseases. They think there may be a link between chronic inflammation and cancer, also. Chemokines, the same protein-signaling molecules that tell white blood cells when to flock to an injury or infection, also tell cancer cells when and where to spread.

According to the article, diet was even more crucial than exercise, although losing weight gets rid of those little chemical factories of stored fat. Eating a diet such as the Mediterranean diet which is high in omega-3s, fruits, vegetables, and olive oils, is a step in the right direction.

Author's Bio: 

Writing articles for my blog, has been a wonderful, creative experience. I am learning so much myself, and relearning the love of writing. I am also about ready to start back to college to finish my BA after thirty years! With my son grown, though still in high school, I am finding this stage of my life to be creative, fulfilling, and full of contentment. The striving has taken on a new purpose and is not just about paying bills. While I am still ready to start a business, which is my FranticWahini skin care line, and maybe a new career in teaching, none of it is anxiety provoking. It is just fun!