Anxiety and stress can cause inflammation, says Dr. Mensch, and inflammation can cause depression. “And with depression comes fatigue and other symptoms of chronic conditions.” A new book – The Inflamed Mind: A Radical New Approach to Depression, by Edward Bullmore Short – makes the case that dealing with inflammation in the brain may relieve some types of depression.
Obesity is associated with chronic inflammation, and a “spare tyre” is a sign of obesity, says Dr. Mensch. Research has shown that fat cells inside the abdomen secrete molecules that increase inflammation. Numerous studies have supported this link between belly fat and systemic inflammation.
How to detect chronic inflammation
There is a test that can pinpoint the problem: “C-reactive protein, or CRP, gives you a non-specific sense of inflammatory markers circulating through your body,” Dr. Mensch says. Other indicators include high levels of interleukin, a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), a high white blood cell count, and a low albumin count. Ask your doctor about these tests.