Chronic inflammation can lead to painful and life-threatening health issues, but most of us aren’t aware of inflammation until it’s already taken a heavy toll on our health. Although chronic inflammation can lead to heart attacks, strokes, cancer and numerous other health conditions, research shows that it can take years before inflammation leads to lasting health consequences. This means you have time to fight back against the damage of inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory medications and supplements can help you regain control, but the most proactive way to fight inflammation is to identify what’s causing your immune system to overreact – and then use that knowledge to stop inflammation at its source. For those suffering from arthritis, periodontitis or another inflammatory disease, the source of inflammation may appear obvious. However, all of us – whether we’re aware of it or not – struggle with hidden inflammatory triggers every day.

Whether by avoiding these triggers or counterbalancing them with anti-inflammatory foods and exercise, you can help control chronic inflammation. Here are some of the most common hidden sources of inflammation that could be hazardous to your health, and steps you can take to stop them:

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