Here’s How Blood Tests Help Detect Chronic Inflammation
Chances are that you’d already know how inflammation affects our body. Well, inflammation is our body’s defense mechanism against an infection or injury. It protects us. However, in some cases it lingers and our body starts attacking even the healthy tissues that can result in chronic conditions like autoimmune diseases, diabetes, heart disease and even obesity.
What are the symptoms of chronic inflammation?
While acute inflammation can last for 2-6 weeks with symptoms including pain, redness, loss of function while moving a joint and swelling, chronic inflammation can continue for long. Some of the early signs of chronic inflammation include:
- Feeling tired throughout the day
If you’re constantly low on energy even after sleeping for 7-9 hours, it could be a sign that your body is fighting chronic inflammation.
- Body ache
Systemic inflammation is one the reasons behind constant muscle aches and joint pains. In such a case, people usually experience pain during a physical activity and it sometimes results in swelling, redness in the joints.
- Recurrent digestive problems
Having digestive issues like constipation or bloating once in a while is normal. Whereas, constant abdominal pain, loose stool, constipation and gastritis suggest chronic inflammation.
- Swollen lymph nodes & skin allergies
If you notice swelling in the lymph nodes especially in the neck, armpit or groin for a prolonged period, it could be because of chronic inflammation. Even skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis are in some cases a symptom of inflammation that results in red, rough and flaky skin.
- Stuffy nose
Having a stuffy nose because of a seasonal allergic reaction seems harmless but it lingers for a long time, it could be a sign of chronic inflammation.
If you’ve been experiencing the above mentioned symptoms for the past few days, make sure to consult a doctor. With timely treatment, lifestyle changes including diet and sleep patterns, the symptoms of chronic inflammation can be reversed.
How is chronic inflammation diagnosed?
While no single test can diagnose the inflammation, your doctor will recommend some tests for biomarkers. All of these tests look at different components of the blood, to test if there are any signs of inflammation in the body. For a proper diagnosis your doctor might suggest X-rays and some blood tests including:
C-reactive protein (CRP)
It is an important test to determine the inflammation in the body. This determines the level of CRP as a response to inflammation in the body. An increased rate of CRP indicates inflammation as well as the risk of cardiovascular diseases. For timely diagnosis, you can even book your CRP test from home here.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
Also known as sedimentation rate, this test directly measures inflammation by observing how quickly your red blood cells settle in a blood sample. In case they have a fast rate of settling, it indicates that you have inflammation in the body.
In some cases even colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and upper endoscopy are recommended to diagnose any inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions.
Here’s the takeaway
Inflammation is the body's response to infections and injuries, but long term inflammation can affect your overall health. In case you’ve been experiencing chronic inflammation symptoms for a long time, make sure to consult your doctor and book your tests for timely diagnosis.
By: Navreet Kaur | on 2021-06-21