3 reasons why inflammation tests are crucial for your health
Inflammation has become a major buzzword in the health and wellness world in recent years – and it’s not hard to see why.
It’s your body’s first line of defense against toxins, infections and injuries, but it can become its worst enemy if it goes on for too long.
That’s because if left unchecked, chronic inflammation can cause significant damage to your cells, tissues and organs. It’s also believed to be the root cause of many diseases that happen later in life.
While acute inflammation usually causes noticeable symptoms, like pain, redness or swelling, the signs of chronic inflammation can be harder to see.
That’s why it’s important to check your inflammatory markers, so you know if there’s a problem you need to address, before more serious damage happens.
Here are three reasons why regularly checking your inflammatory markers is crucial to preventing disease and protecting your health – both now and in the future.Inflammation is your body’s first line of defense, but it can become its worst enemy if it goes on for too long #inflammation #labtests #health #wellness Click To Tweet
1. Chronic inflammation increases your risk of serious health problems
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance your liver makes in response to inflammation, and it’s one of the key inflammatory markers we test for to see if your body is inflamed.
Elevated CRP levels can indicate a wide range of conditions, from infection and illness, to autoimmune diseases like lupus and Crohn’s disease.
As well as being a key marker of inflammation, researchers now believe high CRP levels may actually increase your risk of developing many diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Importantly, there’s growing evidence that along with bad cholesterol, inflammation – and particularly CRP – is a strong predictor of cardiovascular diseases.
Research is still ongoing, but it’s thought inflammation may contribute to the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, putting you at increased risk of developing blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Some studies have even found high CRP levels may be more predictive of heart attack and stroke than high cholesterol levels – although knowing your cholesterol and lipoprotein(a) levels is still important to get the complete picture on your heart health.
Homocysteine is another major inflammatory marker that’s associated with heart disease and stroke, as well as dementia.
As with CRP and cardiovascular disease, the role homocysteine plays in the development of dementia is still not entirely clear.
However, one study found people with high homocysteine levels had nearly double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia.
A vitamin B12 or folate deficiency can contribute to high homocysteine levels, so increasing these essential nutrients in your diet or via supplements may help reduce this harmful type of inflammation.High CRP levels may be more predictive of heart attack and stroke than high cholesterol levels #inflammation #labtesting #health #wellness Click To Tweet
2. Chronic inflammation could be affecting your quality of life right now
Do you feel tired? Short of breath? Are your joints aching? Are your muscles sore?
You might think you’re just ‘getting old’ – but you could actually be chronically inflamed and this could be prematurely aging your body.
While there are usually clear signs you’ve got acute inflammation due to an infection or injury, the symptoms of chronic inflammation can be far more subtle, and it’s easy to attribute them to other things.
But if you’re feeling fatigued, sore, or just generally ‘off’, checking your inflammation markers is a good way to understand exactly what’s happening inside your body.
For example, creatine kinase (CK) is an enzyme in your blood that when elevated can indicate inflammation.
And, if your joints are sore or stiff, it’s also a good idea to have your uric acid levels tested.
That’s because this natural waste by-product can build up in your blood – a condition called hyperuricemia – and cause a range of symptoms that affect your day-to-day life.
What’s more, if it’s not addressed, hyperuricemia can eventually cause gout – a painful inflammatory condition that leads to significant loss of mobility.
The good news is that once you know it’s a problem, excess uric acid is relatively easy to remedy.
For example, drinking more water, avoiding sugary foods and beverages, and reducing your intake of purine-rich foods like pork, shellfish and dried beans, can all help to reduce your uric acid levels.If you’re feeling tired, sore, or just generally ‘off’, checking your inflammation markers can help you find out what’s happening in your body #labtesting #health #wellness Click To Tweet
3. Chronic inflammation is preventable – and reversible
Stress has become synonymous with modern life – and the same could be said about inflammation.
In fact, it’s thought that stress is one of the key contributors to chronic inflammation, along with things like obesity, exposure to toxins and allergens, and – perhaps most importantly – our diet.
The anti-inflammatory diet has exploded in popularity in recent years, and there’s very good evidence to suggest that upping your intake of things like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, fish and healthy oils can reduce your risk of developing many inflammation-related diseases.
What’s more, some people like Dr. Terry Wahls believe dietary changes can not only prevent but also reverse the symptoms of inflammatory conditions like multiple sclerosis – a devastating degenerative disease that causes numerous problems throughout the body.
If you haven’t heard of her remarkable work, Dr. Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. She’s also a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years.
Dr. Wahls restored her health – so much so that she now rides a bike to work every day – using a diet and lifestyle program (The Wahls Protocol), which she designed and now uses to help others with chronic disease.Many of the metabolic causes of inflammation are reversible, particularly if they’re addressed at an early stage #inflammation #labtesting #health #wellness Click To Tweet
4. Are you ready to check your inflammatory markers?
At yourlabwork.com, we’ve found that many of the metabolic causes of inflammation are reversible, particularly if they’re addressed at an early stage.
That’s why it’s important to regularly check your inflammatory markers – so you can make proactive lifestyle choices now that will help safeguard your health.
If you’re ready to find out what’s really going on in your body, check our our Inflammation Panel and order yours today!
Blogs on related topics:
Advanced Thyroid Testing: Why checking your TSH level isn’t enough
Lipoprotein(a): The one biomarker that could change everything
The five secrets to aging well
About the Author:Dr. Alan Hopkins is a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Medicine where he was elected into the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society for leadership and academic excellence. He is board-certified in Emergency Medicine and completed an A4M fellowship in Anti-Aging Medicine. He’s an advocate of innovative medical care and is on the board of directors of several private companies to assist them in developing strategies that are consumer-oriented and patient education-based.