16 Signs of Chronic Inflammation You Probably Didn’t Realize

Updated: March 27, 2023

Chronic Pain

Chronic inflammation is the culprit behind most diseases.

You may not feel it or even sense it, but it could be bubbling up inside you.

What’s Chronic Inflammation and What Factors Lead to It

Conditions-supplements-that-promote-bone-healingIt’s important to understand that there are two types of inflammation: chronic and acute.

Acute inflammation is your body’s first response to intruders. It shows up as redness, heat, swelling and pain.

You will see acute inflammation in action in response to things like:

Ingrown and infected toenails, sore throat, a scratch on the skin, and intense exercise.

Acute inflammation is different from chronic inflammation. It happens quickly (rapid onset) and soon becomes severe. Symptoms and signs are only present for a few days, or in some cases may last for several weeks. But ultimately, it’s short and temporary.

Chronic inflammation on the other hand means long-lasting inflammation. It’s slow and can take days to show up and is often severe and progressive. It can stick around for several months or even years.

Now there are many risk factors that can lead to chronic inflammation. Some of them include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Diet (high sugar intake and processed foods)
  • Not enough exercise
  • Obesity

And if you choose to put your body through these risk factors for an extended period of time, it not only increases your risk of chronic inflammation, but can speed up aging, your risk of diabetes, dementia and many other diseases or conditions you don’t want!

So the sooner you figure out if you have chronic inflammation and can make adjustments to your lifestyle, the better.

The following are some warning signs of chronic inflammation. (But if you want to know for certain, go see your doctor, these warning signs are not a substitute for lab testing.)

The 16 Signs of Chronic Inflammation You Probably Didn’t Realize

When a disease associated with chronic inflammation shows up, it is a major red flag. The following 16 conditions are caused by inflammation or may at the same time, cause inflammation to occur:

  1. Celiac Disease: Is a chronic autoimmune/inflammatory disease that affects 1%-2% of people in the U.S. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, it causes inflammation and can damage tissues and organs throughout the body.Signs of Chronic Inflammation
  2. Autism: Recent studies have shown inflammation may be a marker of autism. While there are many factors leading to autism, researchers reveal that brains affected by autism share a pattern of inflammation. Further research is needed.
  3. Cancer: Studies have established links between chronic low level inflammation and many types of cancer such as prostate, lung, ovarian lymphoma, and pancreatic.
  4. Asthma: Asthma is a disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen to your lungs. If you suffer from this chronic, long-lasting condition you are said to be asthmatic. An asthmatic’s airways are swollen or inflamed and are extremely sensitive to irritations.
  5. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is an inflammatory disease that causes chronic inflammation in the joints. It results in pain and immobility, especially in fingers, wrists and ankles.
  6. Alzheimer’s: Studies have found that chronic inflammation is a trigger for this disease.
  7. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Compresses the median nerve that passes through your wrist. This compression results from swelling (inflammation) inside your wrist.
  8. Crohn’s Disease: Is an inflammatory bowel disease that damages the digestive tract.
  9. Gallbladder Disease: The majority of gallbladder diseases are caused by inflammation. This comes from irritation of the gallbladder wall.
  10. Fibromyalgia: The role of inflammation in fibromyalgia has been debated for decades. But recent research suggests that inflammation may be a core feature of this illness.
  11. Cardiovascular Disease: Inflammation plays a huge role in atherosclerosis, which is a disease that is characterized by deposits of fatty material on the inner walls.  
  12. Kidney Failure: Inflammation contributes to the progression of chronic kidney disease and a chronic pro-inflammatory state is known in patients with chronic kidney disease.
  13. Multiple Sclerosis: Is an inflammatory immune condition that causes problems throughout the body.
  14. Osteoporosis: According to recent studies, chronic inflammation can elevate your osteoporosis risk by increasing your levels of inflammatory cytokines – which can induce bone loss.
  15. Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include nausea, indigestion and pain on your left side that goes around to your back.
  16. Psoriasis: Is an inflammatory disease that causes inflammation mainly in your joints, but can affect other parts of your body as well.

As you can see, chronic inflammation is the leading cause of many diseases. And the crazy part about it is, there are plenty more than the 16 I listed today with inflammation at its root!

Instead of covering all of them, I wanted to give you an idea of all the different forms of havoc chronic inflammation can play in your body. I don’t do it to scare you (I hope I didn’t!) but to help you (I hope I did!).

The point is, silent inflammation is something we should spend time learning about and being proactive about preventing in our lives with diet, exercise, sleep and positive mental attitude.  They are all huge topics, but well worth learning about.  

We will continue to share insights on these topics over the months to come.









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  1. Arlene

    April 7, 2019 , 4:05 pm

    Have been struggling with inflammation off and on since 2013 .It has got worse the last4 months.Drs. can not find the problem. Need help finding my problem.

  2. Jenna AlgaeCal

    April 9, 2019 , 10:35 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Arlene. Have you had a chance to work with a Functional Medicine Doctor before? They may be able to help you identify the underlying cause. We suggest looking for a functional doctor through The Institute for Functional Medicine here. Hope that helps ❤️

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  3. Betty Taylor

    October 18, 2022 , 7:07 pm

    I was told thru a pee test I have alot of inflammation in my body

  4. Brianne Bovenizer

    October 19, 2022 , 12:52 pm

    Hello Betty,

    I’m sorry to hear that you tested positive for inflammation! This is unfortunalty true for so many of us, and I hope that you are taking care. HERE is another article you may enjoy with some great natural remedies for inflammation!

    I hope this helps!

    – Brianne @ AlgaeCal

  5. Melissa

    October 25, 2022 , 3:47 am

    I eat a clean whole food diet and avoid dairy and red meat and I exercise daily and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other substances. Despite doing everything right the fibromyalgia, psoriasis, mental conditions, cholesterol, and other inflammatory symptoms continue. This makes me believe that this is an inherited genetic mutation. This is why I’ve decided to forgo having children.

  6. Brianne Bovenizer

    October 25, 2022 , 10:45 am

    Hi Melissa,

    I am so sorry to hear of everything you are going through. Have you ever considered reaching out to a Naturopathic Doctor, or Functional Medicine Practitioner? We are all so very unique, and often times need an individualized approach to health in order to identify and correct what imbalances we are experiencing. These practitioners would be able to help dive deeper into your bodies specific needs, in order to help manage these conditions, and help you feel better!

    I hope this information is helpful, Melissa, and I truly hope you are feeling better soon!

    – Brianne @ AlgaeCal

  7. candice Campbell

    October 30, 2022 , 4:11 am

    can an injury cause inflammation….I have been hit four times since I have moved to texas. This last hit was a hard one and my body is all of a sudden in constant pain, I can not sleep sometimes up all night in pain. My skin seems to change texture all of a sudden it is very soft and then it ican turn rough very rough. what does that mean……I have been to so many Dr.s and no one has given me an answer and my body just sometimes feel like I could go crippled….my legs feel very heavy and then all of the sudden its all gone and I am fine, but it always comes back..I have changed my whole diet it is hard to exercise because of the pain. I am going to go and have blood tests done….

  8. Chelsea Dugas

    October 31, 2022 , 1:25 pm

    Hi, Candice,

    I’m so terribly sorry to hear of what you are going through, you need a hug! It does sound mysterious and it’s very difficult to gauge where inflammation comes into this, but getting some thorough blood work done would be our first recommendation. Hoping you get the help you need! Best of luck!

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  9. Hilda Gauer

    December 20, 2022 , 10:16 am

    I’ve had fibromyalgia for 20 years, and crohns(dr. Told me crohns was caused by taking aleve when I was taking it for period pain) now I have chronic body inflammation, going for physio and now all they tell me it’s old age. I’m only 76 and fed up drs. Who don’t care.

  10. Chelsea Dugas

    December 21, 2022 , 1:48 pm

    So sorry to hear this, Hilda. You may find some relief with our Triple Power Fish Oil, which has added astaxanthin and curcumin, both powerful antioxidants! You can learn more about it HERE. That said, we always recommend speaking with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements. Hope this helps and please let us know if you have any questions!

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,