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Functional Medicine Explained
Categories: Functional Medicine Gastro Intestinal Health Gut and Intestinal Health Health Wellness

Functional Endocrinology: Inflammation and the Endocrine System

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Do you feel:

  • That eating relieves fatigue?
  • Hormone imbalances?
  • Aches, pains, and swelling throughout the body?
  • Bodily swelling for no reason?
  • Inflammation on your body?

If you are experiencing any of these situations, you might be experiencing inflammation, and it might affect your endocrine system.

Inflammation and the Endocrine System

Inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body. The immune system can recognize the damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens that cause harm to the body and began the healing process. When the inflammation turns into chronic inflammation, it can cause several diseases and conditions in the body and can cause harm to an individual.

Inflammation can cause dysfunction when it is in the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a series of glands that produce and secretes hormones that the body needs and uses for a wide range of functions. When the endocrine glands produce hormones, they are sent into the bloodstream to the various tissues in the body. Once they are in the various tissues, the hormone signals the tissues to tell them what they are supposed to do. When the glands do not produce the right amount of hormones, various diseases like inflammation can affect the body.

Inflammation Symptoms and Causes

Two questions are asked concerning the interaction of the endocrine system with inflammation: How does inflammation influences the endocrine system, and does it influences disease? How do hormones influence inflammation and immune cells? A theory had integrated both questions and has recently been demonstrated in the context of chronic inflammation considering a rheumatic disease.

So how does inflammation influence the endocrine system? Inflammation symptoms can vary depending on if it is acute or chronic. The effects of acute inflammation are summed up by the acronym PRISH. They include:

  • Pain: The inflamed area is most likely to be painful, especially during and after touching. The chemicals that stimulate the nerve endings are released, making the area more sensitive.
  • Redness: This occurs due to the capillaries in the area that is filled with more blood than usual.
  • Immobility: There may be some loss of function in the region of the inflammation where the injury has occurred.
  • Swelling: A buildup of fluid causes this.
  • Heat: Heat is caused by having more blood flow to the affected area and making it warm to the touch.

These acute inflammation signs only apply to an inflammation on the skin. If the inflammation occurs deep inside the body, like the endocrine system and the internal organs, some of the signs may be noticeable. Some internal organs may not have sensory nerve endings nearby; for example, they will not have pain.

With the effects of chronic inflammation, it is long term and can last for several months or even years. The results from chronic inflammation can be from:

  • An autoimmune disorder that attacks normal healthy tissue and mistaking it for a pathogen that causes diseases like fibromyalgia.
  • An industrial chemical that is exposed to a low level of a particular irritant over a long period.
  • Failure to eliminate whatever was causing acute inflammation.

Some of the symptoms of chronic inflammation can be present in different ways. These can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Chest pains
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain

When inflammation affects the endocrine system, it can cause the body’s system to be unbalanced, and it can lead to chronic long term illnesses.

With the second question, it is asking how do hormones influence inflammation and the immune system? When the hormone levels are either too high or too low, it can have several effects on a person’s health. The signs and symptoms can depend on hormones that are out of balance.

Inflammation and Hormones

Research has shown that some of the conditions that are affecting the endocrine system can lead to autoimmune disorders. High levels of hormones can lead to hyperthyroidism, Cushing syndrome, and Graves disease. While low levels of hormones can lead to hypothyroidism and Addison disease. When the levels of the hormones are either too high or too low, the body fluctuates from either weight gain or weight loss and disrupting the glucose levels. This can cause a person to get diabetes and obesity.

Obesity is the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes. During the development of obesity, subclinical inflammatory activity in the tissues are activated and involves the metabolism and energy homeostasis. In the body, intracellular serine/threonine kinases are activated in response to those inflammatory factors. They can catalyze the inhibitory phosphorylation of the key proteins of the insulin-signaling pathway, leading to insulin resistance in the body.

Studies have shown that inflammation is a general tissue response to a wide variety of stimuli. When inflammation is not adequately regulated, inflammatory responses may be exaggerated or ineffective, which can lead to immune dysfunction, recurring infections, and tissue damage, both locally and systemically. With various hormones, cytokines, vitamins, metabolites, and neurotransmitters being key meditators of the immune and inflammatory responses to the endocrine system.

Another study shows that aging, chronic psychological stress, and mental illnesses are also accompanied by chronic smoldering inflammation. Chronic smoldering inflammation in humans is already established with elevations of serum levels, leading to an increase in resting metabolic rate.

Conclusion

So inflammation is a double edge sword where it can heal the body but also cause the body harm if it is deep into the internal organs and body systems. With the endocrine system, the levels of the hormones can fluctuate from going too high or too low and affecting the tissues in the body, causing inflammation.  When an individual is suffering from chronic inflammation, it can change their lifestyle drastically. Some products are here to help counter the metabolic effects of temporary stress and make sure that the endocrine system is supported as well.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.


References:

Coope, Andressa, et al. “MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Metabolic and Inflammatory Pathways on the Pathogenesis of Type 2 Diabetes.” European Journal of Endocrinology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26646937.

Felman, Adam. “Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 24 Nov. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php.

Salazar, Luis A., et al. “The Role of Endocrine System in the Inflammatory Process.” Mediators of Inflammation, Hindawi, 29 Sept. 2016, www.hindawi.com/journals/mi/2016/6081752/.

Seladi-Schulman, Jill. “Endocrine System Overview.” Healthline, 22 Apr. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/the-endocrine-system.

Straub, Rainer H. “Interaction of the Endocrine System with Inflammation: a Function of Energy and Volume Regulation.” Arthritis Research & Therapy, BioMed Central, 13 Feb. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3978663/.

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T

Welcome-Bienvenido's to our blog. We focus on treating severe spinal disabilities and injuries. We also treat Sciatica, Neck and Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sport Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We use Individualized Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Adapted Cross-Fit Protocols and the "PUSH System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. If you would like to learn more about a Doctor of Chiropractic who uses advanced progressive techniques to facilitate complete physical health, please connect with me. We a focus on simplicity to help restore mobility and recovery. I'd love to see you. Connect!

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