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Subtle Signs of Inflammation After Age 50

Inflammation is both a very good thing and a potential hazard to your health. Inflammation is the body's natural response to an injury, the first step in healing. But when inflammation becomes chronic, it can increase the risk of serious diseases like heart disease, cancer and dementia. That's why it's important to keep an eye out for the signs of inflammation, so you and your doctor can quash it. These are subtle symptoms of inflammation that tend to creep up after age 50, according to the experts. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Joint Pain

senior woman holding wrist with joint pain poor bone health

"A few subtle signs of inflammation can start to show up after age 50," says surgeon Dr. Hector Perez. "One common one is when you begin to experience more joint pain than usual. If you start to notice that your joints are stiff, swollen, and sore, it might be a sign that you're experiencing inflammation."

2

Weight Gain

stepping on scale

"Weight gain is another subtle and common sign of inflammation," says Perez. "If you've been noticing that the numbers on the scale are creeping up, it could be because inflammation is causing your body to hold onto excess weight."

3

Brain Fog

Woman hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness with motion

"Most people look for signs of inflammation in the body like joint pain or skin issues," says Amy Serin, Ph.D., an Arizona-based neuropsychologist. "But inflammation in the aging brain contributes to age-related declines in functioning after 50 and is a critical factor to consider. This shows up as mental fogginess, difficulties concentrating, poor working memory, inability to learn efficiently, and even sadness and an inability to handle normal levels of stress."  

4

Bloating

Young woman suffers, writhes in abdominal pain lying on couch in living room at home interior

"Bloating after a meal, sluggish bowels, or extraordinarily loose bowels can be signs of gut inflammation," says Dr. Greg Mongeon of Vitae Functional Medicine in Burnsville, Minnesota. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check markers that indicate whether you have chronic inflammation.

5

Rashes

Women scratch itchy arm with hand.

Rashes and other skin issues can be a red flag for inflammation. "The most subtle sign of inflammation I see with my clients over 50 is they talk about their skin changing. It could be drier, flakier, or showing signs of redness," says Fiona Fox, an exercise physiologist in Tennessee. 

6

Frequent Congestion

Senior woman in jacket suffering from cold in park

Constantly congested? You might chalk it up to allergies, but the real culprit could be inflammation. "If you find yourself frequently needing to clear your throat or always having a stuffed up nose, this could be a sign of inflammation," says Dr. Anthony Puopolo, chief medical officer of Rex MD. "Inflammation in the mucous membranes causes a production of phlegm. The result: Symptoms that mirror an allergy or cold, such as coughing, sneezing and a stuffed up or runny nose. If this is more than a once-in-a-while condition, it may indicate a problem with inflammation." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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