A report by the University of California, Los Angeles / Edits by JP Saleeby, MD
Scientists from twenty-two institutions, including UCLA, are recommending early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of severe chronic inflammation to reduce the risk of chronic disease and death worldwide due to chronic illness.
The group of international experts, which also included scientists from the National Institutes of Health, Stanford University, Harvard Medical School, Columbia University Medical Center and University College London, point to inflammation-related diseases as the cause of 50 percent of all deaths worldwide.
Inflammation is a naturally occurring response by the body’s immune system that helps fight illness and infection. In the acute or short-term inflammation is good and necessary for health. However, when inflammation is chronic, it increases the risk of developing potentially deadly diseases.
In a perspective article, published in the journal Nature Medicine, the authors describe how persistent and severe inflammation in the body plays a key role in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.
The group is pushing for future research focusing on identifying ways to better diagnose and treat severe chronic inflammation. Doing so may not only extend life, but also help reduce chronic disease worldwide and improve health and quality of life.
Senior author George Slavich, director of the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research, said it is important to make people aware of the risk factors for chronic inflammation, which include obesity, physical inactivity, social isolation, chronic stress, poor nutrition, and inadequate or poor sleep.
“Chronic inflammation is influenced by many social, environmental and lifestyle factors,” said Slavich, who is also a research scientist at the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA. “If we make people aware of these risk factors, our hope is that individuals will reduce the factors that apply to them.”
Slavich said research should focus on identifying newer biomarkers or substances in the body that will enable doctors to screen for and better diagnose and treat severe chronic inflammation.
The centers at Carolina Holistic Medicine utilize a forward thinking paradigm of testing for a multitude of known inflammatory biomarkers. Testing tends to be heavy on the inflammation markers and light on non-actionable unnecessary and less impactful tests. Today American healthcare is trapped in the use of not very helpful blood tests and procedures that actually ignore the root causes of chronic illness.
Carolina Holistic Clinics since 2013 have been utilizing and monitoring inflammatory biomarkers on a regular basis to maintain optimal health and wellness and stave off chronic illness. The Priority Health Academy a 501(c)3 non-profit teaching and research academy is at the forefront of efforts to bring recognition to the use of these markers. Furthermore, this organization teaches how best to manage inflammation with lifestyle modifications, proper anti-inflammatory diets and select dietary supplements to combat inflammation.
“It’s also important to recognize that inflammation is a contributor not just to physical health problems, but also mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, self-harm and suicide,” Slavich said. “This is a substantial public health crisis.” It is multifactorial and has long reaching arms that affect a multitude of end organs.
The Priority Health Academy is offering an annual Symposium in Functional Medicine in Charleston, SC. The symposium is a 3-day conference July 17 – 19, 2020. More information and tickets are available at www.TinyURL.com/DOL-2020