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How to prevent and treat inflammation

 

Inflammation is associated with a number of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer.  Dr. Mark Liponis, medical director of Canyon Ranch, shares his expertise on how to identify, treat and prevent inflammation in the body.

“Inflammation is a stress reaction of the immune system for any reason—from infection, for example,” Liponis said. “It could be from an injury or some process in the body like an auto-immune disease.”

“It’s very nonspecific,” he added.  “It can affect the whole person.”

According to Liponis, there are blood tests, which can detect low levels of inflammation in the body.  Doctors can either look at white blood cell count—the higher the count, the more inflammation—or look at c-reactive protein, which is an even more accurate test that can find levels of inflammation so low a person can’t feel them.

To prevent inflammation, Liponis recommended a few simple steps, including regular exercise, staying at a healthy weight, and taking various supplements such as vitamin D and fish oil.

For a person who already has inflammation, the same recommendations apply—however, Liponis said it may be necessary to follow them more strictly.  In other words, a person with inflammation may need to exercise even more than a person without inflammation or increase his or her intake of supplements.