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  • Writer's pictureMonica Bell

Inflammation and Hormones

What is Inflammation, and Why Does it Matter?

You are probably familiar with inflammation if you have ever had an injury. The response to sudden body damage, such as cutting your finger or surgery, is for your body to send inflammatory cells to the injury. These cells start the healing process.

But with chronic inflammation, your body continues sending inflammatory cells even when there is no outside danger. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory cells and substances attack joint tissues leading to an inflammation that comes and goes and can cause severe damage to joints with pain and deformities.


Is Aging Associated with an Increase in Inflammation?

Most older individuals develop inflammation, a condition characterized by elevated levels of blood inflammatory markers that carry high susceptibility to:

  • Chronic morbidity

  • Disability

  • Frailty

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • Depression

  • Dementia

  • Muscle wasting

  • Rapid skin aging


Risk Factors for Inflammation and What You Can Do

Some risk factors are modifiable, and others aren’t. Some of the behavioral approaches you can tackle now:

  • Check your inflammatory markers. At Optimal Hormone Health, we will check your C-Reactive Protein and homocysteine, both markers for inflammation.

  • Reduce body fat. Calorie restriction is the most powerful life-extension intervention in most animal models and is associated with reduced inflammatory biomarkers.

  • Estrogen has been shown to prevent prolonged inflammation suggesting that decreasing estrogen production could tip the inflammatory balance toward chronic systemic inflammation.

  • Reduce stress since chronic stress is associated with inflammation

  • Exercise

  • Eat a plant-based diet. Red and processed meats contribute to inflammation

  • Reduce sugar intake


Menopause and Hormones and Inflammation

Menopause is associated with systemic inflammation due to declining estrogen levels. Hormone replacement can act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

  • When estrogen declines, inflammation increases. Estrogen replacement can reduce inflammation.

  • Inflammation and vulnerability to other medical problems are factors in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Estrogen is thought to protect your brain from degenerative diseases and cognitive decline.


Controlling Inflammation

Controlling inflammation takes a multi-pronged approach. You will feel better, your health will improve, and you will reduce your risk for age-related chronic illnesses.

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