Chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world. The majority of people have some sort of chronic inflammation-mediated disease, with the most common being; diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and joint diseases, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Many of these same individuals have multiple inflammatory diseases putting them at an even higher risk for other diseases. The prevalence of these diseases are anticipated to increase persistently for the next 30 years.
Chronic inflammation not only has a deleterious effect on the body, but is a key factor causing almost all chronic degenerative diseases. Chronic inflammation weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable for COVID-19 and other viral infections. Some of the common signs and symptoms that develop during chronic inflammation are: body pain, fatigue, insomnia, gastrointestinal complication like constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, weight gain, frequent infections, depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
When people think of allergies, they often think of itchy eyes and a runny nose. But seasonal allergies, and more importantly environmental allergies and specifically dietary allergies, can cause significant inflammation and can have a negative effect on your health even without having chronic inflammatory disease. When allergens are combined with inflammation caused by other chronic conditions, your health and quality of life is negatively impacted, making you more susceptible to other illnesses, like COVID-19.
What can you do now to reduce inflammation?
There are many things we can do to help ourselves reduce our risk of acquiring infections such as COVID-19. Many dietary and lifestyle changes can be helpful in removing inflammation triggers and reducing chronic inflammation. The most effective is weight loss and avoiding environmental and dietary triggers. Experts suggest a low-glycemic diet, while reducing trans fats, and eating more fruits, vegetables, fiber, and omega-3s, and supplementing with micronutrients like vitamin d, zinc and magnesium can have a major positive affect upon our overall health and well being.
In the end, the lifestyle changes to reduce chronic inflammation are the same advice you’ll receive to avoid/treat diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, allergies are often the elephant in the room. Your body actually develops inflammation from allergies even before you show signs and traditional seasonal allergy symptoms. The lifecycle of type I hypersensitivity to an allergen goes from exposure > IgE antibody > mast cell/Basophil > mediators > inflammation and then > symptoms. If you do not have high IgE reactivity, you could be generating significant inflammation all without realizing the environmental or dietary causes.
Knowing your allergy triggers, and minimizing your exposure to your triggers is crucial to overall health.
Research has shown that it's actually common for environmental allergies to suddenly appear later in life, possibly due to chronically high levels of air pollution that leaves our lungs in a constant state of inflammation. As we age, our immune system function also declines, making us more susceptible. Laboratory tests like Allergen360, can help give you and your healthcare provider unique insights into your allergy triggers and help you make lifestyle adjustments and dietary choices to minimize inflammation and improve your immune system. Taking control of your health is a first step to staying healthy for a lifetime. And knowing what your body is allergic to is vital to preventing viral infections, chronic disease and being the best version of yourself.