Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection. Chemical messages released from the site of injury attract white blood cells to repair or remove damaged tissue and fight infection. In healthy individuals this process resolves naturally over a relatively short space of time once the injury has been remediated. However many people live in a state of chronic inflammation due to stress, lack of exercise and poor diet. This means that when an injury occurs on or inside the body the resulting inflammation does not resolve properly.

The immune system continues to produce free radicals and other powerful chemicals that start to damage the healthy tissues of the body long after the immune response should have abated. Very occasionally inflammation may go into overdrive and prove fatal, this is called sepsis or toxic shock (wiki).

This condition of chronic inflammation is reckoned to be the cause of at least 200 disease conditions including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and Arthritis. 

The good news is that you can limit chronic inflammation with some simple lifestyle modifications. Stress, lack of exercise and a poor diet all contribute to chronic inflammation and these are things you have some control over.

What blood tests to take to check your background level of inflammation:

  • Blood sugar and fasting insulin. High blood glucose indicates insulin insensitivity and exacerbates the process of inflammation. Normal blood glucose with high fasting insulin indicates an overactive pancreas, responding to high sugar intake, with the risk of organ failure.
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) Blood CRP levels increase dramatically at the onset of inflammation and fall just as rapidly on remediation.
  • Fasting Leptin High fasting leptin indicates a loss of sensitivity to leptin which is normally degraded after acting to restrain appetite after a heavy meal.
  • Homocysteine  High blood levels of homocys are associated with atherosclerosis and many other conditions including dementia. Adequate dietary folate reduces blood homocys levels.
  • Glycated HAC Glycated haemoglobin analysis gives a very accurate average of the blood sugar concentration over a 90 day period. It is a powerful indicator of the damage that blood sugar can do to brain proteins.
  • Fructosamine Is also a product of protein glycation but gives an average of the blood glucose level over a shorter period of 2-3 weeks.

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Site authors: Professor Rodney Bilton, Dr Larry Booth, and Joseph Bilton M.Sc B.Sc