Monday, June 17, 2013

Obesity and Inflammation

When a person suffers from some infection, the body's immune system fights the infection. In the fight, the body will often cause affected areas to become inflamed. And once the body has won the fight against the infection, the immune system no longer needs to fight the infection, and the inflammation goes away. However, sometimes the inflammation stays too long and this causes a problem for the body. Overweight and obesity are conditions that can cause inflammation. And if the overweight and obesity are long term, they will cause long term, harmful, inflammation.

In cases where the inflammation lingers too long, the inflammation becomes a chronic condition, and does harm to the body. The "immune response has not been turned off so your immune system is running out of control, releasing pro-inflammatory immune cells when they’re not needed anymore. These excess immune cells floating around your body can cause all kinds of damage to your health if left unchecked. Your body is essentially in constant defense mode and this extra stress is very detrimental to your health."

"In overweight mice and humans the fat cells, or adipocytes, are issuing false distress signals -- they are not under attack by pathogens. But this still sends local immune cells into a tizzy, and that causes inflammation."

Overweight and obese persons can suffer from many unhealthy conditions. And a number of these conditions may be linked to inflammation. The conditions overweight and obese persons can suffer from include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and some forms of cancer.

As we learn more about how being overweight or obese can cause inflammation, therapies can be devised to target the inflammation, and minimize the effects of the overweight and obesity. Of course, we want to fight the overweight and obesity, but learning how to treat the inflammation may be a viable research target.

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