Inflammation – it’s the key buzz-word on many lips – from trained healthcare professionals like yourself, to the general public. But why is inflammation so key and how can looking at inflammation help you achieve more positive client health outcomes? In this blog post, we’ll share 3 ways inflammatory markers can help you to unlock optimum client health outcomes, with examples of inflammatory markers and related conditions.
Inflammation can be both a symptom of other imbalances that require attention and a predictor of longer–term health risks. Read on to discover why looking at clients’ inflammatory markers can be an absolute game changer.
1. You can identify whether there is an acute inflammatory process underway
There are several markers which rapidly upregulate (positive acute phase reactant) or downregulate (negative phase reactant) in response to inflammatory cytokines. These may be brought about by pathogens or toxins. Positive acute phase reactants include ferritin, CRP and fibrinogen. Negative acute phase reactants include albumin and transferrin. Therefore, the insight that these markers are out of range may alert you to an acute antigen of some sort.
2. You can determine whether your client is in a state of ongoing low-grade inflammation
As we know, inflammation is designed to be a positive and protective mechanism for our bodies when it is activated at the right time (e.g. an injury) and when it is then discontinued in a timely manner. All too often, due to our current way of living, there can be a dysregulation of the pathways responsible for inflammation; causing it to persist and become chronic.
If you identify that there is ongoing inflammation, then it will be important to identify the source of this and address it. Some of the causes include; pathogen burden, diet, obesity, toxins, lifestyle factors such as smoking, stress, and physical inactivity amongst others. Often, more than one of these are at play.
3. You can estimate an individual’s risk of developing chronic disease
It is a well–recognised fact that many chronic diseases have inflammation as an underlying contributor in their pathogenesis. A number of markers for systemic inflammation, such as CRP and fibrinogen, are associated with cardiovascular risk; including atherogenesis and thrombosis. These two markers are independent risk factors for coronary events. There is a known association between pathogen burden and cardiovascular disease and it is thought that this is mediated by the inflammatory process.
Other conditions closely linked to inflammation include diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, asthma, and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Identifying a trend towards inflammation early on, even at a subclinical level, is therefore crucial in promoting an individual’s health.
FDX panels provide insight into the following inflammatory markers:
To gain further insight into the nature and effects of an individual’s inflammatory process, it can be useful to look at these in combination with other markers such as white blood cell differentials, the oxidative stress index and the index score of all body systems.