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Testing Inflammation Markers: Useful in Primary Care?

Testing Inflammation Markers: Useful in Primary Care?
Dr. Garrett Stroup. Physical Therapist in Roseburg Area.


Dr. Garrett C. Stroup

DPT, VRC - Owner and Founder

We help athletes and active adults regain control of their injury without expensive surgeries or medications, so they can keep going.

Understanding Inflammation Markers and Blood Values: The Impact on Stress and Wellness

Inflammation is a critical part of the body’s immune response, but chronic inflammation can have detrimental effects on health, including the exacerbation of stress. At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance in Roseburg, Oregon, we aim to enhance our clients’ health and wellness through comprehensive nutritional, sleep, and stress coaching. In this article, we will explore the relationship between inflammation markers, blood values, and stress, providing actionable strategies to manage and reduce these factors for improved overall health.

What are Inflammation Markers?

Inflammation markers are substances in the blood that indicate the presence and level of inflammation in the body. Common markers include:

  1. C-Reactive Protein (CRP): Produced by the liver, CRP levels increase in response to inflammation. High levels are associated with chronic inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and arthritis.
  2. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR): This test measures how quickly red blood cells settle at the bottom of a test tube. A faster rate indicates inflammation.
  3. Interleukins (ILs): These are a group of cytokines (proteins) that play a role in inflammation. IL-6 and IL-1β are commonly measured to assess inflammation.
  4. Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-α): Another cytokine involved in systemic inflammation, elevated TNF-α levels are linked to autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory conditions.
  5. Fibrinogen: A blood plasma protein that’s essential in clotting, but elevated levels can indicate inflammation.

The Link Between Inflammation and Stress

Stress and inflammation are interconnected in a bidirectional relationship. Chronic stress can lead to increased levels of inflammation markers, while inflammation can exacerbate stress. Here’s how they influence each other:

  1. Stress Hormones: Chronic stress leads to the continuous release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Elevated cortisol levels can trigger and maintain inflammation, increasing levels of CRP and cytokines like IL-6.
  2. Immune Response: Stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections and diseases, which in turn cause inflammation.
  3. Oxidative Stress: Chronic stress increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing oxidative stress and damaging cells. This oxidative damage promotes inflammation.
  4. Behavioral Factors: Stress often leads to unhealthy behaviors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep, all of which can contribute to inflammation.

Blood Values and Their Impact on Health

Blood Values and Their Impact on Health

Regular monitoring of blood values can provide insights into your inflammatory status and overall health. Key blood values to watch include:

  1. White Blood Cell (WBC) Count: Elevated WBC count can indicate an infection or inflammation.
  2. Platelet Count: High platelet counts can be a sign of inflammation, as platelets are involved in the inflammatory process.
  3. Liver Enzymes (ALT, AST): Elevated liver enzymes can indicate liver inflammation or damage, often related to chronic inflammation or alcohol consumption.
  4. Glucose and Hemoglobin A1c: High levels can indicate poor blood sugar control, which is linked to increased inflammation and stress.

Strategies to Reduce Inflammation and Manage Stress

Managing inflammation and stress is crucial for overall health and wellness. Here are some effective strategies:

  1. Nutritional Coaching: Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can significantly reduce inflammation markers. Focus on consuming:
    • Fruits and Vegetables: Rich in antioxidants and fiber, which combat inflammation.
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, these fats help reduce inflammation.
    • Whole Grains: Provide fiber and nutrients that support overall health.
    • Lean Proteins: Such as poultry, tofu, and legumes.
    • Avoid Processed Foods: Reduce intake of sugars, refined carbs, and trans fats.
  2. Regular Exercise: Physical activity helps lower inflammation and manage stress. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, including activities like walking, cycling, and swimming.
  3. Adequate Sleep: Poor sleep can increase stress and inflammation. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and creating a restful sleep environment.
  4. Stress Management Techniques: Incorporate stress-reducing practices into your daily routine, such as:
    • Mindfulness Meditation: Helps reduce stress and inflammation by promoting relaxation and mental clarity.
    • Yoga: Combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to reduce stress and inflammation.
    • Deep Breathing Exercises: Can help calm the nervous system and lower stress levels.
  5. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health and can help manage inflammation. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily.
  6. Avoid Smoking and Limit Alcohol: Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase inflammation and stress. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can significantly improve health.
  7. Regular Health Check-ups: Routine monitoring of inflammation markers and blood values can help detect and manage inflammation early. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider ensure that you stay on top of your health.


Understanding the relationship between inflammation markers, blood values, and stress is crucial for managing and improving your overall health. Chronic inflammation and stress are intertwined, each exacerbating the other, and can lead to serious health problems if left unchecked. At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance in Roseburg, Oregon, we offer comprehensive coaching in nutrition, sleep, and stress management to help our clients reduce inflammation and enhance their well-being.

By adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and effective stress management techniques, you can lower inflammation markers and improve your health. If you’re ready to take control of your health and reduce inflammation and stress, contact us today. Our team of experts is here to provide the guidance and support you need to achieve your health goals and live a healthier, happier life.


  • Ridker, P. M., et al. “C-Reactive Protein and Other Markers of Inflammation in the Prediction of Cardiovascular Disease in Women.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 342, no. 12, 2000, pp. 836-843.
  • Black, P. H., & Garbutt, L. D. “Stress, Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 52, no. 1, 2002, pp. 1-23.
  • Furman, D., et al. “Chronic Inflammation in the Etiology of Disease Across the Life Span.” Nature Medicine, vol. 25, no. 12, 2019, pp. 1822-1832.

By focusing on reducing inflammation and managing stress, you can significantly improve your quality of life and health outcomes. At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance, we are here to support you every step of the way. Contact us to start your journey towards better health and wellness today.

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