Inflammation is one of the most dangerous things for your body to have to deal with at a cellular level. It’s one of the most insidious causes of all disease – and is often overlooked! In fact, inflammation has been linked to almost every major health problem and it’s a known precursor to accelerated aging. And with all of us looking for the fountain of youth… well I’ll tell you, it’s getting rid of inflammation.
Inflammation inhibits the optimal functioning of your body from a cellular level, making you a slower healer and promoting disease at the deepest level. It’s something I talk about at every one of my seminars, with every one of my patients and this website is littered with references, articles and more. But I’ve never really discussed the testing aspect of inflammation in this blog, so here it is.
There are several tests you can have run that can help determine the level of inflammation in your body. These tests should be performed routinely (every 6 months in my opinion) as a preventative measure and to monitor your inflammatory status.
But first, what is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism. It is part of the body’s innate immune system and can be triggered by many things. It is a complex process by which the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to fight infection. Inflammation is essentially the body’s way of tagging a part of the body to receive attention from the immune system.
There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation starts quickly and generally disappears within a few days (imagine getting a bump on the head. That bump is the inflammation, but it recedes relatively quickly). Acute inflammation protects us against damaged cells, viruses, and bacteria. In this way, inflammation is beneficial.
Chronic inflammation is systemic inflammation that can last for months or years. Many things can contribute to chronic inflammation including in- flammatory foods, environmental toxins, excess weight, lack of sleep and stress.
Chronic inflammation occurs when our bodies are repeatedly exposed to these influences and inflammatory mediators are produced throughout the body. The immune system becomes overwhelmed as the ongoing stimulus results in more cell recruitment, increased inflammation, and changes to cells, even at a genetic level.
White blood cells will eventually start attacking internal organs or other necessary tissues and cells, which is characteristic of autoimmunity. This inflammatory response continues until the cause of the inflammation is addressed.
Chronic inflammation is at the root of most, if not all chronic diseases including cancer, ALS, and heart disease. It also increases the risk for diabetes and weight gain, aging, lung issues, increased bone loss and lack of bone growth, and depression.
Autoimmune diseases are also a result of inflammation. In autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system triggers an inflammatory response to its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected and attacks these tissues. Autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and arthritis, will develop as a result.
5 Most Important Blood Tests For Inflammation
Finally, the point of this article.
- Fasting Insulin – Medical Range: 2.6-24.9 uIU/ml – Health Range: Healthy Range: 1.0-5.0 uIU/ml
- Fasting insulin is important to monitor for several reasons, mostly because your MD will rarely, if ever, test for it. And it directly correlates to levels of inflammation and aging. High levels of insulin indicate diabetes, inflammatory disease and rapid aging.
- Hemoglobin A1C – Medical Range: 4.8-5.6 – Healthy Range: 4.5-5.2
- Hemoglobin A1C measures the % of your blood which has a sugar molecule attached to it. Elevated levels correlate to inflammatory dis- ease, diabetes and also to your ability to oxygenate your red blood cells energy production and anti-cancer power.
- C-Reactive Protein – Medical Range: 0-3 mg/L – Healthy Range: 0-1 mg/L
- C-Reactive Protein elevates in times of inflammation and can suggest inflammatory bowel disease (leaky gut), arthritis, autoimmune and overall immune system strength.
- Serum Ferritin – Medical Range: 30-400 – Healthy Range: Females (25-100), Males (50-150)
- Ferritin elevates as we age and indicates inflammation, chronic dis- ease, autoimmune and for some acts as a cancer marker. Ferritin can only be lowered by donating your blood regularly.
- Red Blood Cell Width – Medical Range: 12.3-15.4% – Healthy Range: 11.7-15%
- Elevated RBCW is connected with all forms of inflammation & disease.
You can ask your doctor for these tests… though you never know what will or won’t be covered by insurance. Or you can find a local testing company and simply request them yourself. This is mind-blowing fact for many: Yes you can run your own tests!