Everybody is familiar with inflammation, because we've all been sick and injured at some time in our life.
Inflammation is our body's natural and powerful response to external threats, just as the countless bacteria and viruses that want to infect us.
Although we don't enjoy the pain, the weakness, the tissue swelling, fever and even shock that accompanies inflammation, it's necessary.
Those symptoms aren't the disease -- they're our bodies fighting the infection that is the disease.
If we didn't have the inflammation response to protect us, we would have died out a long time ago.
However, silent inflammation is the low-level of chronic inflammation that our bodies continue to produce even though it's not fighting a particular threat.
Eventually this process is no longer silent, and we develop chronic pain in some part of our body.
Then the medical establishment gives it a name by adding "itis" to the Greek word for that part of the body and calling it a disease -- arthritis, bursitis, meningitis, bronchitis and more.
Sears goes into great detail about how excess fat cells cause silent inflammation.
This means that our best defense against it is to reduce our weight.
That means keeping our insulin under control, inside the healthy range he calls the Zone.
Which means accepting that food is a drug for hormonal control and eating a healthy amount of carbohydrates with an optimal balance of protein and fat -- not the normal average American diet.
Silent inflammation contributes to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, and autoimmune disorders -- the diseases we most fear.
The first line of defense against silent inflammation is, of course, the Zone diet itself.
This is not new or a surprise.
But of course, Dr.
Sears must write about it for the new readers who will pick up this book as their first introduction to the Zone.
The second line of defense is, of course, pharmaceutical grade high potency fish oil.
Again, nothing new here, except the emphasis on using fish oil to control inflammation.
The third line of defense is moderate exercise.
It's noteworthy for Dr.
Sears writing that he has a friend who runs an anti-aging clinic, and many of his friend's patients are former triathletes who suffer heart and joint problems.
Exercise is good, but should not be taken to extremes, because it too causes an inflammation in our bodies.
Therefore, athletes going for strength should work out to the point where they do cause tiny micro-sized tears in their muscles.
Even though this does trigger the body's inflammation response, it is what also triggers the body to make more growth hormone to repair the damage and build more muscle tissue.
That also helps us to lose weight which decreases silent inflammation.
Everyone who's still scared of cholesterol should read the chapter on why it doesn't cause heart disease, but inflammation does.
There're also interesting chapters on the other two diseases that scare us all -- cancer and Alzheimer's.
And finally a chapter on how to avoid the coming collapse of our health-care system.
Of course it was written long before health reform became a hot political issue, and he doesn't take sides on that.
He just points out that unless Americans reduce the amount of silent inflammation, as time goes by many millions of us are going to suffer from the terrible diseases it contributes to.
He simply points out that our current system is not set up to provide the vast quantities of additional care that will be needed when inflamed baby boomers start demanding solutions to their medical problems.
If you're a baby boomer and want to avoid standing in line for life-saving medical treatment (whether under "Obamacare" or our current system), you need to read this book and get on the Zone program to reduce your levels of silent inflammation.