It’s the Inflammation, baby!

By Dr. Elizabeth Fleming
December 31, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
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My instructor for aerobics class in the 80′s used to always say, “Exercise! It’s your life insurance policy!”  I have made exercise a part of my life because it makes me feel good, look good, and makes my body function better overall. (and will most likely help me to live longer than a non-exerciser, as an extra benefit! Thank you Linda!) 

Being a part of the health care industry as a dentist, I find it interesting that there are links between many disease processes, including heart disease, diabetes, periodontal disease, Alzheimer’s and more.  What is the common link between these diseases?  It is the inflammation, baby! Inflammation is your enemy!  Reduction of inflammation is the key.

If your physician tells you that you have high blood pressure and need to take prescriptions to control your HBP, do you calmly accept that?  Or do you look for ways to improve upon your current habits to minimize the need for taking prescription medication, such as a better diet, more exercise, and decreasing stress?

In the dental field, something as simple as regular flossing can drop the incidence of periodontal disease due to removing plaque from the teeth.  Plaque causes inflammation and inflammation causes periodontal disease.  Simple, but many people just don’t get it!

What are some other things that cause inflammation in your body and how can you work to eliminate them?

  •  Stress causes major inflammation, causing the release of cortisol which amps you up for the “fight or flight” response.  Chronic exposure to stress can result in high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.  Work at relieving your stresses by doing yoga, exercising, relaxing or finding “me” time for yourself.  Do something you enjoy in your spare time.  You deserve it!
  • Improper diet, eating too few fruits and veggies. You body needs to function like a finely tuned machine.  Give it the proper fuel!  Your body may have problems processing certain foods, like those people who have gluten allergies.  So even certain foods  can act like irritants and cause inflammation, too.  Eat a well balanced diet with fruits and veggies and plenty of anti-oxidants for optimum function of your body.
  • Alcohol.  Too much alcohol causes you to throw up.  That’s the ultimate response to irritation…throw up and get rid of the inflammation, RIGHT NOW!  If you drink too much and don’t throw up, you get a horrible hangover.  What is a hangover? It is brain inflammation in the form of a headache, and stomach/intestinal inflammation, which may keep you close to the bathroom to get rid of the alcohol, but out the other end!
  • Lack of sleep.  Your brain and body need time to rejuvenate. Isn’t sleep deprivation a form of torture?  Why are you torturing yourself by not getting enough sleep?
  • Smoking.  Have you ever noticed how smokers get sick all of the time?  My theory is that their bodies are so used to fighting off the self-inflicted smoke irritation, so their immunity is “overworked” and can’t fight off the smallest exposure, and they catch everything!  Just don’t do it! There is no redeeming value in smoking, EVER!

If you are content with taking medications to control your disease processes, then don’t floss, don’t exercise, smoke, drink plenty of alcohol and wait for the inflammation in your body to do you in, because it will!  But if think controlling the inflammation seems to make better sense,  in an effort to achieve overall health, try changing your habits, even a few at a time.  Let me know how much better you feel!

Dr. Elizabeth J. Fleming and Staff

Desert Ridge Smiles  20950 N. Tatum Blvd  Ste. 280  Phoenix, AZ  85050  480-860-4300