IT’S THE SOURCE OF MANY CONDITIONS – FROM THE MILDLY IRRITATING TO THE MORE SEVERE. WE EXPLAIN WHAT CAUSES IT, HOW TO RECOGNISE IT, AND SHARE DIET AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE TO HELP TACKLE INFLAMMATION IN YOUR BODY
It happens when we sprain our ankle, cut our finger or have a fever. Inflammation is triggered by the immune system when it picks up signs of an irritant or damage. It’s the body’s clever way of healing and protecting us from viruses, bacteria and injury. But there’s another type of inflammation going on unseen inside our bodies, which is caused by damage to our cells from our diet, lifestyle or environment. Chronic inflammation is like having a fire burning in your body. It causes all kinds of damage, and if there’s one thing that’s making you sick and overweight, this is probably it. In this health book, we look at how it develops, how it makes us more susceptible to disease and how you can start to put out the fire.
It's like having a fire burning in your body
Who gets it? According to Coeliac New Zealand, coeliac disease affects approximately 60,000 to 70,000 Kiwis (1 in 70). However, up to 80 per cent of those are unaware they have the condition.
What happens? The immune system reacts abnormally to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats, causing small bowel damage. It is a disease of chronic inflammation in the small intestine and can occur in other organs like the skin, joints, bones, liver, pancreas, thyroid gland, nervous system and reproductive tract. When coeliac disease remains undiagnosed or untreated for an extended period of time, the inflammation can cause complications such as osteoporosis, infertility and liver disease.
How is it treated? A strict, gluten-free diet is the only medical treatment. The long-term consequences of untreated coeliac disease are related to chronic systemic inflammation, poor nutrition and malabsorption of nutrients.