What Causes System-Wide Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s defense system. When your body senses an unknown chemical or irritant, it can produce symptoms such as heat and redness. Prolonged inflammation can be harmful, however, making it important to recognize and treat inflammation before it becomes serious.

At Monarque Health & Wellness in Ashland, Oregon, we care about your holistic health. 

What causes inflammation?

Chemicals from your white blood cells enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from invaders. As you may suspect, this causes blood flow to increase. 

You may notice redness or warmth in the area. Some of the chemicals cause fluid to leak into your tissues, resulting in swelling. While this process is protecting your body, it can lead to noticeable inflammation.

Other symptoms of inflammation include body pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux. Weight gain is often associated with inflammation. 

Your diet can impact inflammation, with sugar as one of the biggest culprits. Some foods, such as red meat, organ meats and some seafoods, have high levels of purines. Your body produces uric acid to break down purines and can also trigger inflammation and insulin resistance. 

Refined carbohydrates, alcohol, processed meats, and trans fats are also known to cause inflammation. Foods that contain fructose should also be eaten in moderation. Inflammation in the endothelial cells that line your blood vessels can cause heart disease. 

Bacteria and toxins in food are likely to cause inflammation. These particles can’t easily be transported through the bloodstream, so your body reacts negatively. 

Types of inflammation 

Acute inflammation

Acute inflammation is a short-term response that occurs after an injury to tissue. It usually appears within minutes. It is characterized by five cardinal signs: pain, redness, immobility (loss of function), swelling and heat.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation is often harder to treat. It is characterized as long-term inflammation often linked to an underlying disease or condition.

Autoimmune disorders, which develop when your body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, are common types of chronic inflammation. Your environment can cause chronic inflammation, such as long-term exposure to chemicals or polluted air that decrease your immune system’s response. 

Lastly, genetic factors, such as Behçet’s disease, can impact your immune system and lead to chronic inflammation.

Determining when inflammation is present

Acute inflammation may be more obvious since your body is likely to show symptoms immediately. Chronic inflammation can be trickier to detect. 

A blood test measures a protein produced by the liver, C-reactive protein (CRP), which rises when inflammation is present. A CRP level of 1-3 milligrams per liter of blood can indicate inflammation. 

When to be concerned

Acute inflammation may require treatment, but it’s typically not life-threatening. For example,  a bacterial infection may require antibiotics. If inflammation is coupled with a fever, seek medical attention, especially if it leads to shortness of breath. 

Chronic inflammation is significantly harder to treat. Some symptoms may be silent or appear on an unexpected schedule. If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms, you should seek medical treatment.

The key to managing inflammation is a healthy diet, exercise and regular visits to us at Monarque Health & Wellness. To find out if you’re prone to inflammation, call 541-326-4777 or book an in-person appointment or online visit

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