Inflammation is a defense mechanism. It is our bodies self defense against physical injury, ingested poisons, sedentary lifestyle and cellular malfunctions. There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation removes harmful stimuli, allowing your body to begin a healing process. For example, you get a splinter on your finger, your finger gets red, possibly a bit swollen, and warm. This is your body's response to this stimulus to your body. Let's say you roll your ankle. The ankle becomes swollen and hot as it fights the trauma, and begins to heal. Being stung by a bee, and the swelling and redness that follows is also an example of acute inflammation. Eventually, your body will heal from these stressors.
Chronic inflammation can cause widespread damage and trigger dangerous conditions that may led to disease. It can occur anywhere in the body, and may go unnoticed (or ignored) for a long time. Do not generalize discomfort as a sign of getting old. Mild or "low grade inflammation" may worsen. It is important to listen to the messages that your body sends to you. According to Robert Shmerling, MD at the Harvard School of Medicine, the immune system can prompt the body to fight even healthy tissue and organs, setting up the possibility for a chronic inflammatory response that plays a central role in some of the most challenging diseases.
Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, exercise (or lack of), and dietary choices all affect the inflammatory response in your body. These are the inflammatory variables that we have the power to control through making the right choices. Be reminded that just because the affects of poor lifestyle choices are not evident at the moment, those choices remain in situ until the inflammation becomes so pronounced in the body that it can no longer be ignored. This inflammation has the potential to present itself as auto-immune illness, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's to name a few.