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Inflammation is a buzzword in the invisible illness community (for good reason!), but it's really an umbrella term for your body's response to any kind of injury. If you cut your hand, your body tells your immune system to heal the wound. That's acute inflammation. Simple enough, right? Hold that thought, actually, because chronic inflammation is subtle and more complex. It can be caused by many conditions, including autoimmune disorders, which involve your immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue. Inflammation can also be triggered by exposure to toxins, such as industrial chemicals or polluted air. When you have chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to some serious health problems, and even disability. Symptoms of chronic inflammation include fatigue, pain, rashes, fever, and many other issues. See…pretty complicated, right? If you suspect that you may be dealing with chronic inflammation, it's important to find a caring practitioner who can help you deal with your symptoms, identify and treat the root cause, and put you on a path to healing. There are several immune-modulating herbs you may find helpful, including hops, sweet wormwood, and sarsaparilla. You can also try infrared sauanas, hot yoga, and do a little detective work, looking into food sensitivities which could be triggering inflammation such as dairy, grains, gluten, or soy. Inflammation can be tricky to deal with, and it can be frustrating to know that your own immune system is actually behind your symptoms! Your body is protecting you the best way it knows how, even if it’s a little misguided. By talking with other people who get it—aka your WanaFam—you can find support through the ups and downs of this tough symptom.

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