Have you ever heard of civilization diseases?

If that is the case, you are now thinking of diseases that probably cause the most deaths today , even though they are preventable. The triggers are often a stressful, unhealthy lifestyle, which is characterized above all by its unnaturalness. But THAT alone doesn't have to be the only cause.

Those diseases – also called NCD or non-communicable diseases – include:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Cancer

 According to the WHO , 42% [1] of dying people each year suffer from a non-communicable disease (NCD). While there are many theories as to why NCD became so common, a silent disease is becoming more and more known. Systemic inflammation.

An article published in Nature Reviews [2] even describes metaflammation (metabolic inflammation) as an epidemic. A Health Letter by Harvard University suggests that chronic inflammation could be a common cause of the four "apocalyptic riders of medicine" : cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes and vascular diseases [3].

What is inflammation anyway?

Inflammation is such a widely used word. We understand it as a painful state of some tissue occurring after an injury, swollen and red.

An inflammatory reaction is a response of the immune system to foreign invasion . It can be triggered by tissue injury or entering of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation is usually protective and a normal part of life. And every immunologist can assure you that life wouldn't be possible without the reaction of the immune system.

Specially trained immune cells patrol the blood and can react to any foreign bodies detectable. The first wave of immune defense, which is present in all humans from birth, releases signal molecules and is also capable of digesting pathogens.

In the case of a severe infection, this "innate immune system" activates the "acquired immune system". The second immune response is time-delayed since targeted gene mutations form recognition molecules that are precisely tailored to the structure of the foreign bodies and can bind them. The antibodies.

A Silent Threat

In contrast to the acute form of inflammation following a specific event, the systemic form is a persistent but insidious reaction with many unspecific symptoms.

An acute immune reaction is normally terminated at some point and the damaged tissue surrounding the "battlefield" is rebuilt. This is not the case in systemic inflammation.

This type of inflammation is rarely detected. Doctors usually treat individual organs in a highly specialized way and look for the cause of diseases and their treatment.

There is simply no specialist for systemic disorders.

  • The body is unable to defend itself against attacking pathogens or foreign bodies. 
  • Autoimmune reactions attack one's own tissue.
  • Irritants such as chemicals or allergens provide a slight stimulation of the immune system over a longer period of time [4]

There are two very common causes for inflammation you might know!

An intolerance to the cereal protein gluten can cause inflammation. The antibodies formed against it cause damage, since the body's own structures similar to gluten are also victims of an immune attack.

Another example: LDL cholesterol . In the worst case, the "bad" cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries if there is a large excess. Over time, the blood vessels constrict as a result.

When a relatively large cholesterol plaque forms, the immune system perceives it as a foreign body and attacks it. The accumulation is destabilized and the plaque may migrate until it gets stuck. Which might cause a stroke.

Harmful consequences of chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation causes long-term damage to the body over a longer period of time.

Food allergies and autoimmune diseases can develop if the body suddenly attacks harmless nutrients or itself. The organs are chronically exposed to a state of war. In the long run, they are weakened to such an extent that other diseases begin.

What risk factors should I avoid?

  • Tuxedo
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Overweight
  • Western diet

Researches have found that fat cells constantly release small amounts of immune signaling molecules. Without a target, body tissues are damaged by the immune system [5].

What's a western diet?

This diet is especially common in western countries , where it originated from. It is characterized by:

  • High calorie count
  • High sugar content
  • Many trans and saturated fats
  • Lots of salt Food additives
  • Low: Complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The Western Diet changes the composition of microorganisms in your intestines . However, the function of the immune system depends on the metabolic products of these bacteria. The slightest change causes an imbalance and the function of the immune system can become pathological [2].

An anti-inflammatory lifestyle and targeted prevention is usually the best remedy against this diffuse illness!

6 Easy Preventive Measures:

  • Moderate movement
  • A balanced diet with sufficient fruit and vegetables
  • Sufficient sleep
  • Certain teas and herbs
  • Know your allergies and avoid the triggers!
  • Reduce stress

[1] https://www.in-form.de/wissen/meldungen/profiportal/who-bericht-zu-zivilisationskrankheiten/

[2] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-019-0156-1
[4] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php
[5] https://www.johnshopkinshealthreview.com/issues/spring-summer-2016/articles/understanding-inflammation