Dr. Amy Shah is a double board certified M.D. and one of mbg’s favorite holistic health experts. With training from Cornell, Columbia, and Harvard she helps her patients get to the root cause of illness. This week, we’re sharing Dr. Shah’s approach to taming inflammation for optimal health and well-being. To learn more, check out her mindbodygreen class The Ultimate Guide To Inflammation.
People often ask me, "How do I even know if my gut/brain/hormones are inflamed?" To answer them, I usually ask a series of questions about symptoms and lifestyle choices. This is a modification of the quiz I use to determine whether or not a patient is inflamed, and we use the results as the starting point for their journey back to health.
Remember, acute or small amounts of inflammation are normal, but these symptoms and blood tests indicate a more chronic problem, which can lead to disease and symptoms like weight gain and aches and pains.
Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions:
1. Do you feel tired in the morning but still can't wind down at night? Y or N
2. Are you gaining weight even though you are exercising and eating right? Y or N
3. Do you suffer from bloating or constipation at least a few times a month? Y or N
4. Have you had a problem with memory and focus, also known as "brain fog"? Y or N
5. Are you moody or irritable more often than you used to be? Y or N
6. Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Y or N
7. Have you had reactions to foods such as cheese, gluten, or soy? Y or N
8. Do you suffer from worsening allergies, eczema, or asthma? Y or N
9. Has a doctor ever told you that you were "inflamed"? (Or have you ever had blood test results that showed elevated fasting glucose, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), sed rate, homocysteine, or ferritin?) Y or N
10. Do you get frequent colds or sinusitis? Y or N
Is your inflammation under control?
Add up the number of times you answered yes. If you answered yes more than five times, you have severe chronic inflammation.
If you answered yes three to five times, you have moderate chronic inflammation. If you answered yes two times, you may have chronic inflammation. If you answered no to all ten questions, your chronic inflammation is well under control, but you will still likely benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet, lifestyle, and exercises.
Inflammation is complicated and sometimes difficult to detect, so these questions are a good proxy to gauge for yourself. These are the main indicators of inflammation, but there are many other signs as well. Repeat this assessment every two weeks or so while you're on your quest to heal.