Inflammation. It’s a word most of us are familiar with. It’s become sort of a buzzword, especially when discussing holistic ways of managing your health or ways to ensure a meal is healthier.
But do you clearly know the warning signs of inflammation?
How can we understand when our body is trying to tell us we need more of those anti-inflammatory ingredients?
First, it’s important to understand where inflammation begins.
What Causes Inflammation?
When you get a cut, break a bone, or are physically wounded in some way, inflammation announces its presence by swelling up the infected area, rushing blood to the region, and letting you know it’s doing its best to heal.
Those signals are easy to recognize, and we can respond with healthy foods, heating pads and ice packs, and other home remedies to help our bodies mend themselves.
It’s important to recognize your body’s warning signs of inflammation.
But, when it comes to internal inflammation, it can be trickier to see when our body is letting us know there’s something amiss.
It doesn’t have to be difficult though. We just have to understand what causes those signals and how they present themselves.
There are certain foods that can trigger inflammation in our bodies.
Things like stress, alcohol intake, not getting enough sleep, seasonal allergies, or not getting enough physical activity can all lead to inflammation in the body. Responding with inflammation to these things is your body’s way of letting you know what it needs less of.
Here Are 5 Physical Warning Signs of Inflammation:
It’s important to know what to look for and how to listen to your body when it’s speaking to you. But remember, what affects you may not affect your friends and family members.
It’s important to recognize your body’s warning signs of inflammation as well as what caused those signals to appear.
Below are potential responses your body could have when exposed to some of the things that can cause inflammation and how to understand its signals better.
Our body can tell us it is inflamed in a variety of ways. Look to your fingers, ankles, and eyes in order to see whether something – a meal, a lack of sleep, too much alcohol, allergies, etc. – has left you with lingering inflammation.
Swelling of your fingers and ankles, being thirstier than normal, bloating, or bags under your eyes can be indications of an inflammatory response.
Take note of these signals: Did they occur when you had fast food? After a homemade meal?
If you or a loved one cooked the meal, adjust the salt, fat and/or sugar types and levels. Gain an understanding of what types of ingredients trigger you and how much it takes for you to swell up.
If they occurred after alcohol, pay attention to whether the signals appear after changing brands or the type of alcohol. If they appeared after a particularly stressful day, it’s important to know what de-stressing methods your body responds best to.
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2. Sleep Disturbances
Sleep disturbances and discrepancies are another clear warning sign of inflammation in your body.
Make note of your standard sleeping habits: How many hours you typically get, what time you normally go to bed and wake up, your usual energy levels, whether you dream or not.
If your sleep patterns are veering off their typical course, there could be something going on in your body, and you may need to look to potential inflammatory culprits.
If you’re tossing and turning instead of sleeping peacefully, getting five hours instead of seven, or not falling asleep until midnight when you normally fall asleep at 10, it’s time to examine possible changes in your routine.
If your sleep patterns are veering off their typical course, there could be something going on in your body.
Look at what you ate that day, whether you skipped out on diffusing oils, if that late night snack was a healthy one or a guilty pleasure, or whether you had a few drinks (or a few too many).
Sleeping patterns are a great way to determine if inflammation is lingering in your body, and understanding where the inflammation came from will help you get a better night’s sleep, which will help you fight future inflammation.
3. Skin Variances
Your skin is also a great indicator of whether your body is inflamed somewhere.
Is it drier than normal? Greasier? Are certain areas itchy? Are you having breakouts? Being aware of your dermatology can provide clues to what your body is trying to tell you.
When the largest organ in your body starts acting up, this is a possible sign of inflammation below the surface, and it can provide a roadmap to potentially determining the cause of the inflammation.
Look to your skin for indications of and warning signs of inflammation levels.
4. Stool Changes
Your body also sends signals in the form of bowel movements.
We all have an idea of what our norms are. When you start going too much or too little, if the consistency is off, or if there are other changes in appearance or smell, your body is trying to tell you something through an inflamed gut.
The source could be dietary, it could be stress, it could be a number of things. But our body reacts to environmental triggers, and it could be letting you know, through your stool, that something in your current environment isn’t agreeable.
The underlying pattern in everything mentioned above is that it’s important to know what your homeostasis is.
Homeostasis is the “normal,” where your body lives. We know how many times a day we typically use the bathroom, how rings fit on our fingers, how much purple we have under our eyes, and whether we have acne or dry spots on our skin.
When these things vary in drastic ways, it is our body’s way of trying to communicate with us.
So, understanding your body’s signals and signs of inflammation means understanding your body’s normal and figuring out what causes it to respond in that way.
Look Out for These Signs of Inflammation
Paying attention to changes in our diet, our environment, and our stress levels can give us a clearer picture of what parts of our body are most affected by inflammation and how we can combat it.
It’s easier to listen to your body when you know what to listen for.
The signs of inflammation may seem elusive at times, but knowing how to listen to our bodies can let us be more effectively anti-inflammatory in our daily routines.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.