In the comments section of last week’s post on inflammation, many of you expressed a desire for a post explaining how to know if one is actually suffering from systemic, chronic inflammation. I thought that was a great idea and decided to put the other followups on hold so I could tackle this one. Obviously, it’s easy to tell if you’ve got some acute inflammation going on – swelling, pain, heat radiating from a part of your body that’s suddenly assumed a rosy hue, and throbbing open wounds are all blatant indicators of the inflammatory process at work – but tests for markers of inflammation are not yet standard across most medical practices. With that in mind, I’ll be giving info on both objective markers for which you can test, as well as on the subjective markers I use on myself that you can “test” and use to evaluate your own level of inflammation.
Let’s get to it.
Inflammation is one of those words that people use without really thinking about its actual meaning. So today we’re going to take a bit of a break from the blood lipid series to cover inflammation. In later posts, I’ll dig deeper into how the inflammatory response works with stuff like exercise and heart disease, but for now, I’ll just get the basics out there.
Existence is suffering, according to certain schools of thought. I don’t know that I’d go quite that far, but I would emphatically state that anyone who spends a modicum of sentient time in the space time continuum we call existence is gonna experience some unpleasantness. A bump on the knee, a bacterial infection, an acute injury, a persistent illness, a death of a loved one, a broken heart. It’s a big and often angry world that doesn’t necessarily care about you, and something’s gotta give. When that happens and the sanctity of our bodies is interrupted by pain, injury, or illness, our bodies respond with inflammation.
Yesterday was the Malibu Marathon (and Half Marathon), and yeah, I snuck a peek. I could never do it myself, not ever again, but I always like to take a gander at the hordes of faithful. Tons of folks in Fivefingers (and even a few totally barefoot runners), about half of whom were either still heel striking, running with a total disregard for midline stabilization, or bobbing their heads up and down like pigeons trolling for scraps of bread. At that point, their heads are in the right place but they’re doing even more damage to themselves. Barefoot running isn’t a panacea. In fact, it opens you up to even more injury if you persist with the same shoe-centric running form you used before. Oh well. They’ll learn. I just hope the lesson takes before any serious damage is done.
This week, we’ve got questions on whether IF is safe for teens, whether the runner’s high is worth pursuing, whether stress can lead to weight gain, and whether matcha green tea matches up to the hype (see what I did there?). Let’s go.
I’ve got play on the mind today, folks. It’s mid-week, yes, but there’s something more to it. This week I’m presenting on play at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Los Angeles. It promises to be a great event, and I’m looking forward to being among so many like-minded folks – experts and laypeople alike. I’ve talked about play now and then on Mark’s Daily Apple. I’ve even done a definitive guide for it, but that hardly means I’ve closed the book. As with most things in life, time and experience have a way of revealing new angles, deeper layers, and unforeseen connections. Our need for play is likewise continuous and complex – and the likely roots of our inclination are not what you’d expect.
You count the days. You spend weeks planning and hours packing. Your friends, family, and every citizen within a 20 mile radius knows you’re leaving and exactly where you’re going. Are you looking that forward to the destination or to leaving behind all the – well, you know? Maybe it’s the sheer novelty more than anything else. You’ve needed something new. You’re ready to check out, break out, get away, forge ahead, and dig in. Just how long has it been since you up and left last time? How long has it been since your last great vacation?
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