12 Ways Blood Work Can Tell You About Your Chronic Inflammation
Do you feel like you are always experiencing
- Digestive problems
- or other chronic symptoms
These may all be caused by another chronic condition, one you're probably not aware of...chronic inflammation.
Is inflammation bad?
The word inflammation has a tendency to make people a little bit nervous, when in fact, acute inflammation is part of your body's natural defense system, it helps fight toxins, allergens, foreign pathogens, and injuries. Inflammation is part of your body's immune system, and helps it heal when an injury occurs. The problem with inflammation is when it begins to be chronic...ongoing.
Typically acute inflammation begins quickly once an infection begins. It lasts for a few days while it does its work to help the body heal, but then as the body becomes well again, the inflammation decreases and disappears.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation is not acute, it's low-grade, doesn't have a specific injury it's working on to repair or heal, and can last for long periods of time if it's not treated. When this happens additional white blood cells can be recruited, and inflammation can increase. The extra white blood cells may begin attacking your organs, tissues and cells, leading to continuous or chronic inflammation and and other health problems. Possibly affecting the heart, digestive system, kidneys, lungs, liver, skin, muscles, bones and endocrine system and others.
How can a comprehensive blood workup help?
If you're having chronic health issues, it would definitely be worth your time to get your blood tested to help identify any inflammatory markers, which, by identifying them you may be able to identify underlying health issues and begin to repair and heal your body.
These 12 inflammation markers, once you understand them, can help you regain your health.
- HbA1C - This marker will tell you if your blood sugars are imbalanced. This is one of the main causes of chronic inflammation and is most commonly linked to diabetes.
- Serum Ferritin - The levels of Ferritin helps detect anemia, or the presence of an iron deficiency. It can also indicate, liver disease, cancer or autoimmune disease.
- Hs-CRP - This test measures the C-Reactive Protein that your liver produces, and could indicate the presence of arthritis in the knees.
- Fasting Insulin - By testing your fasting insulin, the insulin your body produces while you aren't or haven't been eating, you can detect high blood sugar levels, again, a strong indicator of diabetes.
- Red Blood Cell Width - The size of your blood cells is important - when these markers are off, it can lead to sarcopenia, an inflammatory condition that relates to older people, and can impact the development of your red blood cells.
- ESR (Erythrocyte sedimentation rate) - is a fairly common blood test which rates how fast or slow your red blood cells move, this test can help discover inflammation. When the blood is flowing too slowly it can compromise your immune function and cause blood clotting.
- Homocysteine - Is an amino acid found in the blood that comes from eating meat. When the levels are too high, it may be an indication of acute coronary syndrome as well as inflammation.
- LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) -is an enzyme that is found in all living cells. It's whole purpose is to support production of energy. If its markers are too high, there's a strong indication of inflammation.
- Liver Enzymes - These are other enzymes that could indicate inflammation in the body if their levels are too high. This could also indicate the possibility of kidney, bile, liver or gallbladder issues.
- Vitamin D3 - This very important vitamin is deficient in a large percentage of the population. Inflammation can be indicated if its levels are too low. Low levels can also indicated asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease and others.
- Lipid Panel - Your lipids are fat-like substances that store energy, send signals to cells and is part of the cell's membrane. When your lipid markers are too high it could signal not only inflammation, but also infection.
- NLR (Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio - when the lymphocyte levels drop and the neutrophil levels rise, an imbalance is caused and it is a signal of chronic inflammation.
You don't have to live with chronic pain, make an appointment with your functional medicine health provider, he/she can help you with a comprehensive blood test, explain the results and develop a plan to help you on your road to better health.