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Chronic Inflammation vs Acute Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s healing response which helps to fight infection, toxins and injury. When your body senses damage or potential harm, it launches a counterattack – a chemical response that triggers your immune system. 

This response includes an increased flow of blood to the identified area, causing inflammation or swelling. Sometimes the inflammatory response is warranted, and helps fight off a foreign intruder and keep your body in good working condition. Other times, you may be suffering from a faulty immune response or false inflammatory alarm, which can cause other health problems. 

So, what is chronic inflammation? How is it different from acute inflammation, and what should you do about it? Read on to find out…

What is acute inflammation?

Acute inflammation is the type most of us are familiar with. It’s the swelling and warmth we get around joints and wounds. This is caused when the immune system launches white blood cells to protect the injury site. It’s the body’s shield against infection, and also functions when you have an illness or virus like the flu. 

What is chronic inflammation?

Chronic inflammation is the term used to describe a lingering inflammatory response. Some acute inflammation is required to encourage healing and bodily repair, so it isn’t always cause for concern. However, as is so often the case, there can be too much of a good thing, and chronic inflammation can actually cause more harm than good. 

With chronic inflammation, the body continues to send white blood cells and chemicals to fight a perceived threat, as your immune system thinks you’re under constant attack. White blood cells might start to attack surrounding healthy body tissue or your organs. 

Long-term chronic inflammation has been linked to diseases like cancer, heart disease, strokes and other medical conditions including asthma, so it’s important to keep it in check as much as possible. 

Inflammation test results on mobile

So, what’s the difference between acute and chronic inflammation?

Acute inflammation is the body’s normal response to an injury, infection or illness. It manifests through swelling, redness, tenderness or warmth to the skin. Once your white blood cells have protected the affected site, your inflammation will calm down as the body heals. 

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is often ‘invisible’, and harder to notice. It’s long-lasting – sometimes for years – and can have serious knock-on effects for your long-term health.  

What are the symptoms of chronic inflammation?

While acute inflammation symptoms – like redness, swelling, tenderness and warmth – are noticeable, chronic inflammation symptoms can sometimes be more subtle and less obvious. 

Some common chronic inflammation symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes or hives
  • Oral sores
  • Low mood 

Sometimes, chronic inflammation may have no noticeable symptoms at all – this is why it’s so important to test inflammatory levels. Symptoms of chronic inflammation can vary in severity from person to person. They may last for months, or even years.

What are the causes of chronic inflammation?

In order to identify and treat chronic inflammation, it’s useful to know what caused it. There are a number of things that can cause chronic inflammation, though it’s important to note that these conditions don’t lead to inflammation for everyone, and sometimes there is no clear underlying reason for the condition. 

Some of the common chronic inflammation causes include:

  • Acute inflammation that goes untreated, for example as a result of of infection
  • Autoimmune disorders that lead to a misguided inflammatory response
  • Long-term or serious exposure to certain toxins, including pollution and industrial solvents
  • Chronic or long-term stress
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Poor diet
Inflammation test kit components

How to test for chronic inflammation

If you’re asking yourself “do I have chronic inflammation?” the good news is that you can test your blood to check your inflammatory levels. The YorkTest Inflammation (CRP) Test can help identify potential risks for things like heart disease and strokes that can be caused by chronic inflammation. 

The test assesses your level of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is one of the most crucial markers for inflammation. 

Your test results – which you’ll receive within 5 days – are hospital standard and easy to understand. Your results can help tell you whether you need to visit your GP or make any healthy changes to your lifestyle. With YorkTest, you’ll also receive expert guidance on wellness and lifestyle so you know exactly where to start. Combined with the hospital standard test results, you’ll be able to make informed, confident decision about your health. 

yorktest inflammation (CRP) test

Inflammation (CRP) Test


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Check levels of inflammation in your body with this simple test

Identify risk of damage or deterioration in your body that you may not be aware of

Risk marker for heart disease, stroke, chronic conditions and infections

  • Test for high sensitivity CRP, the most important marker for inflammation
  • Simple at-home finger-prick blood test. No social interaction required
  • Provides hospital standard, easy-to-read traffic light results
  • Supporting guidance provided to help you make effective lifestyle changes
  • Receive advice to better support your overall health
  • Customers must be aged 18 years or over to take this test. This test is not available to customers who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Only available in the UK

If you’re concerned you may be suffering from inflammation or want to know more about our Inflammation (CRP) blood test, get in touch with our friendly team.