Worldwide, type 2 diabetes and heart disease are on the rise so it’s important to understand the cause. In this blog post, we will discuss how inflammation causes type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These diseases are considered lifestyle diseases because they are associated with unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices that create inflammation in the body.
What is inflammation?
The word inflammation is derived from the Latin word “inflammo,” which means “I ignite.”
However, not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation is a normal part of your immune system’s appropriate response to a perceived threat, due to an injury, infection or foreign substance. It is actually a natural process to heal and repair injured tissues.
When this process is short-term it’s referred to as acute inflammation. This condition is visible on your skin if you experience a cut or a burn. The tissue will be red, swollen and painful. The problem is temporary and resolves when the tissue heals.
On the other hand, when inflammation persists in the body for an extended period of time it is called chronic inflammation. Instead of helping you, chronic inflammation damages your blood vessels and organs.
Too much of a good thing
Acute inflammation is similar to the police department’s response to a threat, such as a burglar. In a normal case, the police officers respond quickly to apprehend the intruder. Afterward, they would check that the homeowner is safe and then leave.
On the other hand, imagine a different scenario where a dozen police officers showed up at your residence for no good reason. Suppose they enter uninvited and stay for years providing excessive “protection” that is debilitating to you. That’s what chronic inflammation is like.
Why is inflammation harmful?
High levels of chronic inflammation are associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, kidney failure, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions. [Ref 1]
When there is inflammation, there’s a high level of free radicals. These molecules damage healthy cells. For instance, chronic inflammation damages our blood vessels and makes them susceptible to clogging. This leads to the development of plaques and blockages that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In type 2 diabetes, inflammation is caused by a fatty diet that causes insulin resistance. [Ref 2] The cells stop responding properly to insulin and the blood sugar rises. Inflammation, insulin resistance, and high blood sugar potentially lead to serious complications including blindness, kidney failure, and amputation.
This is gloomy, but the thing to remember is that these complications are preventable. By taking action in a timely manner, you can reverse chronic inflammation with anti-inflammatory food and lifestyle choices and avoid these unnecessary complications.
Anti-inflammatory food and lifestyle choices
One of the main ways to reverse chronic inflammation is to consume an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of whole plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients and antioxidants.
These powerful nutrients have been proven helpful in preventing and reversing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance.
Proper nutrition, physical activity, and sleep are key lifestyle factors to naturally help decrease chronic inflammation. You can experience your best results with lifestyle changes in conjunction with a healthier diet. [Ref 3]
The seriousness of chronic inflammation and lifestyle diseases is not to be denied, however, through a healthy diet and lifestyle you can improve your condition and live a long healthy life.
Are you experiencing diabetes and want a healthier lifestyle to lower your blood sugar and get your energy back? Take the first step and download the Free Guide to Overcoming Diabetes Naturally. A healthier lifestyle starts here: https://livinghealthworks.com/guide/
Ref 1. Frasca, D., Blomberg, B.B. & Paganelli, R. (2017). Aging, Obesity, and Inflammatory Age-Related Diseases. Front Immunol. 8:1745. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01745. eCollection 2017.
Ref 2. Engin, A.B., Tsatsakis, A.M., Tsoukalas, D. & Engin, A. (2017). Do flavanols-rich natural products relieve obesity-related insulin resistance? Food Chem Toxicol. pii: S0278-6915(17)30803-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.12.055.
Ref 3. Kolb, H. & Mandrup-Poulsen, T. (2010) The global diabetes epidemic as a consequence of lifestyle-induced low-grade inflammation. Diabetologia, 53:10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-009-1573-7
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
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