Your body can experience chronic inflammation in response to fighting off an attack for a long period of time. Some level of inflammation is normal and a completely healthy immune response to a short-term injury, like a cut, broken bone, or the flu. Acute inflammation is a short-lived process that aids in healing by releasing antibodies, blood flow, and proteins to any damaged cells.
However, when dealing with an injury or infection your immune system can’t fix right away, like Lyme disease, inflammation can last for years and go into overdrive. This puts constant stress and wear on your body and can cause your immune system to attack other organs and tissues.
There are several different factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation, including autoimmune disorders, long-term irritant exposure, or untreated infections and injuries. Additionally, your lifestyle and certain habits can increase your body’s inflammatory reaction, such as chronic stress, obesity, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
If you notice signs of chronic inflammation, this is often a strong indicator that something isn’t right. If you have been bitten by a tick or have been in an area where ticks commonly live, Lyme disease could be to blame. When left untreated for months or longer, Lyme disease can progress and cause a range of chronic, debilitating symptoms, including inflammation.
Ready to heal your body? Make an appointment with Dr. Ridinger today.
Signs of Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation affects numerous organs and body symptoms. Since the effects are so widespread, you may not know why you’re feeling unwell and think your symptoms are unrelated. Here are some of the major signs to look for:
- Body aches and pain: Chronic pain is telltale sign of chronic inflammation. You may experience arthritis or swelling and painful joints. Myalgia, or muscle pain, is also common.
- Fatigue: The symptoms of chronic inflammation, such as joint pain and anxiety, can keep you up at night, making you feel sleepy and worn out. Even if you’re getting enough sleep, you may feel fatigued throughout the day as your immune system is in overdrive and pulling from your energy stores.
- Digestive issues: Chronic inflammation can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and an imbalance in the microbiome of your gut. You may notice a lot of abdominal discomfort and other digestive issues, like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or acid reflux.
- Skin rashes: If you have an inflammatory skin condition, like eczema or psoriasis, chronic inflammation can cause a breakout. You may also notice general skin irritation, rashes, and acne.
- Depression and anxiety: Your mood can be affected by chronic inflammation, contributing to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Inflammation can affect specific parts of your brain, leading to a low mood, pacing thoughts, irritability, and brain fog.
- Weight gain or loss: Chronic inflammation is linked to your body’s insulin resistance. If you notice major, unintentional changes in your weight, inflammation might be playing a role.
- Reoccurring fevers: A major sign of chronic inflammation is an infection that won’t go away. If you are experiencing reoccurring low-grade fevers, it usually means your immune system is working to fight off an infection.
Lyme Disease and Chronic Inflammation
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection cause by the bite of a blacklegged tick infected by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Diagnosis and treatment are pretty straightforward in the first weeks following the bite. For most people, this means an antibody test and antibiotic treatment to get rid of the infection.
However, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of the body and cause widespread discomfort if left untreated. With time, it evolves into a chronic condition that is not easily detected or diagnosed and requires a more comprehensive treatment plan to get rid of.
If you have Lyme disease for a long time without realizing it, your immune system will continue to fight to help your body get rid of the infection, leading to chronic inflammation. While you may have seen a doctor to try and treat symptoms associated with your condition, such as anxiety, fatigue, or joint pain, you will not get full relief or achieve overall wellness until the root cause is treated.
While there are lifestyle changes and other actions you can take to reduce inflammation, Lyme disease is still the underlying condition that needs to be treated. Advanced Lyme disease symptoms to look out for include:
- Joint aches or arthritis
- Headaches and neck pain
- Muscle and tendon pain
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Brain and spinal cord inflammation
- Shooting pains, tingling, or numbness
- Facial palsy
- Brain fog
- Depression and anxiety
- Imbalanced hormones
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fever and chills
Effects of Chronic Inflammation on Health
Chronic inflammation does more than just make you feel sick, moody, and uncomfortable. It also causes long-term issues that have serious health consequences. There are many conditions, several of which are potentially fatal, linked to chronic inflammation. This list includes issues like cancer, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
Chronic inflammation is a topic that has gotten much attention and is still being heavily researched. Studies have shown it to play a part in causing fluid buildup in the lungs, contributing to depression, promoting plaque buildup in the blood vessels, and much more.
The main point is this: Chronic inflammation is serious and requires medical attention. If you notice the symptoms, it’s important you meet with a doctor and get the treatment you need to live a healthy, disease-free life.
Treatment for Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose and treat after it has progressed to the later stages. The first step to getting rid of Lyme disease and healing your body of chronic inflammation is to speak with an infectious disease doctor who is well-versed in both conditions.
Dr. Ridinger from Premier Health and Holistic Medicine works out of Leesburg, VA and has 25 years of experience working with patients living with chronic Lyme disease and other complex conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and adrenal fatigue. She is a board-certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine, and she is affiliated with the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society.
First, Dr. Ridinger will want to meet with you for a comprehensive consultation. This is where she can learn more about your symptoms and talk with you about what diagnostic tests you will need. Once she has clear picture of what your experiencing, she creates a personalized treatment plan that involves battling chronic inflammation and promoting a healthy immune system.
Dr. Ridinger takes a holistic, integrative approach with every client. She considers how your body works together to affect your overall health and uses a variety of treatment options to help you achieve optimal wellness.
When chronic inflammation is at play, your body has essentially become an enemy to itself. With the proper treatment plan in place (which can include stress management, proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, exercise, and supplements), your immune system’s health can be reversed. Your body will be in the right spot to fight off Lyme disease and your debilitating symptoms will decrease.
Sounds like a good plan? Schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Ridinger today.