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What are the Different Ways to Treat Inflammation?

By S. Waddell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Inflammation falls into two categories: acute inflammation, which is considered temporary, and chronic inflammation, which is long-lasting. There are many ways to treat inflammation, though the two types are treated in different ways. Some treatments involve taking medicine, while others involve making simple changes in your lifestyle.

Acute inflammation is a natural response by your body to some type of trauma, infection or allergy. This inflammation is a result of inflammatory chemicals being released from your white blood cells to repair damage. It is normally considered a good thing, even though the result may be painful swelling.

In this case, the quickest way to treat inflammation would be anti-inflammatory drugs, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as over-the-counter aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Stronger prescription medicine is also available. These drugs are not safe for long-term use, making them a poor choice for the treatment of chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation occurs when inflammatory chemicals are released to repair damage that does not exist. Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, are examples of this reaction. The resulting inflammation is both painful and destructive. Lifestyle changes are the best way to treat inflammation of this type.

One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation long-term is to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. This can be done by eating more oily fish, such as salmon. Some nuts, such as walnuts, are loaded with omega-3, and adding olive oil to your diet can also be beneficial. Many fruits and vegetables are also rich in omega-3, and fish oil dietary supplements can be helpful for those who know they don't get enough omega-3 in their diet.

A multi-vitamin is also a good choice in the battle against inflammation. Most people find it difficult to get enough folic acid and vitamins C, D and E, all of which are important to an anti-inflammatory diet. Trans fats should be eliminated from your diet, and sugars and refined carbohydrates are not good choices either.

Other lifestyle changes can reap rewards when a person is looking for ways to treat inflammation. Stress causes the production of cortisol, which is known to promote inflammation; walking — physical activity, in general, actually — reduces stress and, thus, is beneficial. Getting enough sleep, which means getting from seven to nine hours of rest every night, is important for repairing and rejuvenating your body. You can also try eating less red meat and more fiber. Changing eating habits and other daily habits can take some time, but the effort is likely to seem worth it if it succeeds in relieving some of the pain of inflammation.

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