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Don’t Ignore These Signs of Chronic Inflammation

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Is your body on fire and screaming for help? How would you know if your body was inflamed anyway? It turns out the answers are not cut and dry, and you may not even be aware that something dangerous is brewing under the surface. The symptoms of chronic inflammation are often subtle and could be attributed to numerous other causes. After all, who doesn’t feel fatigued sometimes? However, understanding the possible signs of chronic inflammation may help ward off significant health issues down the road. 

Inflammation gets a bad rep 

We all strive to have robust immune systems. This complex system defends our body against invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other foreign substances. It also works to heal injured tissues in the body. 

When we hear the word inflammation, it often conjures up a negative response. However, inflammation is the body’s response to an injury or invader. It’s a vital part of the immune system, and without it, we would not exist. 

How inflammation protects 

If you’ve ever healed from a sprained ankle or a bee sting, you have inflammation to thank for the help. An acute injury causes the body to jump into action. As white blood cells rush to the scene, the first signs of healing begin to appear: heat, redness, swelling, and pain. 

While our first instinct may be to stop the symptoms, it’s important to realize that our brilliant bodies know exactly how to heal. For example, our bodies release hormones such as histamine and bradykinin in response to a rolled ankle. These chemicals cause small blood vessels in the tissue to widen, allowing for more blood flow, and thus more white blood cells, to the area. For this reason, the area turns swollen, red, and hot. In turn, the additional fluid puts pressure on the nerves, creating pain. 

In the short term, inflammation serves a vital role by prompting our body’s defense system to kick into high gear. Once the immediate danger has subsided, the immune system typically settles down. However, if the inflammatory process goes on for too long, it can become problematic.

Chronic inflammation: where the trouble begins 

While inflammation begins as a helpful process to ward off invaders or injury, it can quickly turn dangerous. The immune system does not know when to dial back for some individuals. As a result, it sends inflammatory cells, even when there is no longer an obvious need. For example, individuals with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, experience chronic inflammation of their joints and organs.  

While chronic inflammation may seem to occur for no apparent reason, it always has an underlying cause. Some reasons for chronic inflammation include:

  • Unknown bacteria, viruses, fungi, or other parasites – Sometimes bacteria or viruses evade the immune system and remain in the body for extended lengths of time. Failure to identify and remove them may cause chronic inflammation. 
  • Toxins, heavy metals, or other pollutants Chemicals, toxins, and heavy metals fill our world. Long-term, low-level exposure to these toxins can result in chronic inflammation. 
  • Food sensitivities – Many individuals have food sensitivities (gluten!) and intolerances and don’t even know it. As 70 percent of our immune system resides in our gut, constant exposure to foods that our bodies can’t tolerate is a leading cause of chronic inflammation. 
  • Mold mycotoxins- Water-damaged homes lead to mold growth and mycotoxin exposure. This situation is a major source of inflammation. 
  • Stress – Long-term stress can cause disruptions in the endocrine and nervous system. Stress also triggers the release of specific white blood cells, leading to chronic inflammation. 

If left untreated, chronic inflammation can lead to a whole host of health problems. For example, research has linked chronic inflammation to bowel disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disease, dementia, mood disorders, asthma, and obesity. 

Signs of inflammation in the heart

Chronic inflammation is a significant cause of heart disease. As plaque builds in the arteries, it triggers inflammation. Inflammation then irritates blood vessels and can dislodge plaque deposits that cut off blood supply to the heart. 

For decades, doctors and scientists believed that cholesterol was the cause of heart attacks. However, studies have found that inflammation is the primary driver behind heart disease. 

Inflammation can also impact the heart directly. For example, myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle itself. It can be caused by exposure to viruses, bacteria, medications, and toxins. Endocarditis is inflammation of the inner covering of the heart, while pericarditis impacts the outer sac that surrounds the heart. 

Cardiac signs of chronic inflammation vary depending on the source of the heart problem. Still, they can include high blood pressure, heart palpitations or arrhythmias, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

What does chronic inflammation in my body feel like?

It can be challenging to know whether or not you have chronic inflammation in your body, especially since many symptoms are subtle and overlap with other health issues. How inflammation manifests itself varies from person to person. Some signs of chronic inflammation include: 

  • Unexplained fatigue or exhaustion
  • Pain
  • Cough or excess mucus production
  • Low-grade fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Digestive problems 
  • Weight gain 
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dry eyes or dry mouth 

Can my doctor detect inflammation?

If you are concerned about inflammation, a visit with your doctor is in order. Your physician may detect inflammation based on your health history and physical exam. However, since signs of chronic inflammation are sometimes challenging to identify, blood lab work may be necessary. 

There are a few critical lab markers that help to determine the level of inflammation in the body. Your liver makes C-reactive protein (CRP) in response to inflammation. Most doctors check for CRP using a high-sensitivity test (hsCRP), which detects CRP in the bloodstream. High levels of hsCRP in the body point to increased inflammation. 

Other labs that might indicate inflammation include white blood cell elevation, elevated myeloperoxidase, oxidized LDL (these are damaged lipid particles), phospholipase A2, just to name a few. , homocysteine, erythrocyte sedimentation (ESR), A1C, and certain interleukins, to name a few. 

Next steps

Our bodies are inherently intelligent and have incredible healing abilities. However, inflammation from poor diet, stress, toxins, and lack of sleep puts stress on your body and makes it less effective. By optimizing health, your body can spend excess energy ridding itself of harmful toxins and supporting your 100 Year Heart.

Make an appointment with Natural Heart Doctor to help get your inflammation under control. Using the philosophy of “test, don’t guess” and comprehensive lab panels, we can test for chronic inflammation markers and provide lifestyle strategies to help you regain your health.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 

Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD


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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.