The rise in Chronic Inflammatory Disease
In recent years there has been a massive rise in allergic and other Chronic Inflammatory Diseases.
The rise has been particularly great in the urban centres of Western society.
What are Chronic Inflammatory Diseases?
Allergic diseases such as:
- Hay fever
- food allergies
and diseases such as:
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)
Why has this happened?
No single cause has been identified, but it is becoming clear that microbial exposure is a fundamental underlying factor.
Exposure, particularly in early life, to the diverse range of microbes that inhabit our natural, and our human and animal environments (usually referred to as the microbiome) is important for building and sustaining an immune system which is properly regulated.
Without regulation the system can overreact, or react inappropriately to allergens like pollen (causing allergies) or our own tissues (causing autoimmune diseases).
What about infectious diseases?
Since the microbial exposures we require are largely non harmful, we need to discover how we can reconnect with our microbial world without increasing our exposure to infection.
Whilst new knowledge suggests we need to reconnect with our microbial world, the idea that we should be less “hygienic” is wrong.
Relaxing standards of “hygiene” would not reverse the trend, it would only serve to increase the risks of infectious disease.