Monday, January 25, 2016

Chronic inflammation

I have been told that I have chronic systemic inflammation. I have lived with inflammation and its affects for years.

According to Wikipedia, "Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective response that involves immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The purpose of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and to initiate tissue repair".

In 1998 my doctor told me that the pain in my foot was likely arthritis and the intense pain I was feeling was causing an inflammatory response. I was appalled that the doctors answer to managing my pain was to move and walk more, and eat less. I couldn't make him understand that when it was sore, I couldn't put ANY pressure on my foot!

Then I noticed in 2000 when I went on a business trip to California, it seemed better. I couldn't figure out why because I did a LOT of walking on that trip. And a lot less snacking.

In 2007, I suffered from a red eye for days. I was prone to allergies and had experienced eye irritation many times but nothing like this. Some thought it was pink eye, which my kids had a few times over the years, but this was far worse. Their eyes were pink, mine were deep red. And painful.

I went to the opthamologist and he said it was inflammation and that sometimes if the body is under a tremendous amount of stress, the inflammatory response will cause the body to react. I was tested for rheumatoid arthritis but it was negative.

The eye problem continued and during a routine doctor visit we discovered my blood pressure was really high. I was put on medication and while it came down, the red eye problem continued. She prescribed special drops and suggested it was because of dry eye. It seemed to help.

2008 brought another life altering eye opener; I was diagnosed with borderline diabetes AND high cholesterol. It wasn't bad enough to put me on medication, at that point I could manage it with diet and exercise. I lost 25 pounds and my A1c went down to the pre-diabetes level, but the red eye continued. My new doctor checked for rheumatoid arthritis. It was negative again.

In 2010 I was flying to Washington DC for business and we experienced some turbulence and had a very hard landing. I felt my back jerk and thought I heard a crack. It was painful for the whole trip and I found myself avoiding many of the group activities and only participating in what I had to do. I spent most of the trip on ice.

When I returned home from that trip, I went for X-rays and was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilitis, degenerative arthritis of the back, and Spondilolithesis a condition in which the vertebra slips out of place and moves over the one below it. I was told that it was a pretty severe case. She explained that eventually I could end up in a wheelchair and that I needed to learn to live with the symptoms and do whatever I can to reduce the inflammation. I was put on prescription strength anti-inflammatory drugs and told I needed to lose weight. By this point, I had gained back 15 of the 25 pounds I had lost earlier. Again.

While in physical therapy for my back, I injured my knee. (I will get into this more later). I tore my meniscus and ended up having surgery to repair it. While he was in there he scraped the arthritis from my knee and sent me on my way. Eight months later, after much therapy, cortisone and Supartz injections, I had my knee replaced.

Until after my pain block wore off after the knee replacement, the ten days I was off of anti-inflammatories was the most painful part. My body hurt everywhere. My hair hurt! I was told it was from the inflammation.

Now my hands are beginning to swell and change shape. I know it is arthritis and that some of that is inevitable. But there are days the ligaments and muscles hurt in my hands and forearms.

Inflammation affects the immune system and lead to diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, I am convinced that the root of all of my health problems is related to stress and inflammation. Stress because I eat to deal with those emotions, and the foods I choose are usually things like candy and ice cream, which are loaded with corn syrup and milk sugars. As a result, whenever I eat anything with corn syrup or milk sugars, my inflammation kicks into gear and I feel more pain throughout my body.

Right now, my pain is manageable with diet, exercise, and medication. The most important discovery I have made over the years, and probably the one I ignore the most, is how important it is to stretch muscles before exercise to eliminate injury which always sends me back to the chair with the affected body part on ice. I am now nourishing my body at the cellular level too. Next I will share how I have chosen to use supplements I purchase from TruVision Health in order to improve my blood chemistry and nourish my body.

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