Chronic Inflammation: A Common Root for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Do you know that the effect of inflammation can be two-fold?

Under physiological conditions, injuries or infections can trigger natural, healthy immune responses, and acute inflammation is an important part of the healing process.

However, chronic inflammation can act as a trigger for some deadly illnesses; contributing particularly to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Today I help you understand more about it.

How can inflammation lead to deadly diseases?

1.      Compelling evidence from research shows that chronic inflammation in fat tissue plays a key role in insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to the normal actions of insulin, leading to further increase in blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.

2.      Obesity is considered a chronic inflammatory disease. Furthermore, abdominal obesity is a risk factor for various diseases linked to inflammation. Fat cells around the belly are much more biologically active than those under the skin, and release some hormones and inflammatory chemicals. Obesity has been linked to several types of cancer.

3.      Fat and cholesterol surely build up plaque(s) on the arterial walls. Additionally, undetected, chronic infection causes inflammation and the formation of vulnerable plaque, which means that an unstable clot can easily fall off the arterial wall and travel to the heart or brain, resulting in myocardial infarction or stroke.

4.      Chronic inflammation caused by a variety of infectious agents can promote development of cancer by the release of immune modulating factors/substances, the production of DNA damaging free radicals, and the suppression of immune functions.

What can trigger inflammation?

1.      Poor diet: Baseline nutrition is critical, at least, to maintain necessary levels of anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body.
2.      High fat, high sugar and high salt foods: They’re tasty, but the silent fuel to set your body on fire.
3.      Chemicals and toxins: Environmental pollutants from tobacco to asbestos to dangerous chemicals in our home or work place, in the air we breathe and water we drink can be inflammatory sources.
4.      Stress: Emotional or physical stress can cause immune system over-drive or imbalance, followed by chronic inflammation.
5.      Physical inactivity: Exercises can produce beneficial changes in circulating level of insulin or insulin-related pathway, and in eliminating inflammatory mediators.

Collectively, a significant role of chronic inflammation in some killer diseases is clear, and the information here can empower you to control inflammation in various ways.