Inflammaging – Why is it important for parents to know the facts?
“Inflammaging” is a term that is being used more and more often these days. It is a combination of the words “inflammation” and “ageing”, and it refers to the process by which inflammation contributes to the ageing of our bodies.
But is inflammation as we age inevitable?
Before we offer an answer, it is worth noting that broadly inflammation is thought of as short-lived (acute) and/or long-lived (chronic) processes.
Acute inflammation is the body’s response to a sudden injury or infection. Characterized by swelling, redness, and pain, acute inflammation is a short-lived response that helps to fight off infection and promote healing.
In contrast, chronic low-grade inflammation is a long-term condition that is characterized by low-level inflammation. While it is not as immediately noticeable as acute inflammation, chronic low-grade inflammation can cause damage to the body over time.
Both conditions are important to be aware of, as they can both have significant impacts on health. Age-related diseases are a growing global concern. As people live longer, the burden of unhealthy lifestyles is becoming more evident. These diseases include heart disease, stroke, cancer, and dementia.
Dementia is an area of growing research with no known cure. A proposed hypothesis suggests that the sequence of events that leads to dementia begins with inflammation, followed by small vessel disease, and finally hypoperfusion. This sequence is thought to contribute to the symptoms of dementia, including memory loss and difficulty with executive functioning. While this hypothesis is still in the early stages of research, it provides a potential framework for understanding the progression of this debilitating condition
The important part is that it starts with inflammation and that is something that we can do something about!
Unhealthy lifestyles are a major factor in the development low level chronic inflammation.
Some of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation, include unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, and stress. Unhealthy diets are often high in sugar and saturated fat, which can promote inflammation. Lack of exercise can also lead to inflammation, as sedentary lifestyles are associated with higher levels of the inflammatory marker known as C-reactive protein. Stress is also a known trigger of inflammation, as the body releases stress hormones that can increase inflammation.
By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can help to reduce inflammaging.
At Willows we encourage eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and practising gratitude and mindfulness. These are all important steps in reducing the risk of inflammaging.
If we can promote healthy lifestyle choices in the early years this will have a lifelong impact on healthspan as well as lifespan.