Inflammation: Definition, Types, symptoms, causes

 What is inflammation?

Introduction

Inflammation is a natural process that occurs in response to injury, infection, or illness. It's your body's way of responding to protect you from harm and start the healing process. But sometimes inflammation can be chronic - meaning it lasts for months on end with no obvious cause. That can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. 


What is an injury? This can be a difficult question to answer, but the simplest way to define it is any damage done to your body. It could be anything from a paper cut on your finger all the way up to an amputation of your arm. Injury can happen anywhere on the body and doesn't always have to be physical either; mental trauma or even emotional wounds are injuries too!


The word infection is derived from the Latin infectious which means "to attack." Infection can be defined as an invasion of harmful organisms or germs, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. When these invade the human body they are referred to as pathogens. The pathogens produce toxins that cause disease in humans by destroying tissue cells and other bodily functions.


Pain might be caused by inflammation but It's important to know that not all pain is caused by inflammation. There are many different kinds of pain, and most aren't related to inflammation at all. However, people with chronic pain usually do have some level of inflammation involved in their condition.


inflammation
inflammation


An overview of inflammation types

Types of inflammation

There are many different types of inflammation, but what is the difference between them? What causes each type of inflammation and how can it be treated? This blog post will answer these questions and more.


Acute inflammation

Acute inflammation is a sudden and intense response to infection or injury. It's characterized by the following symptoms: redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. Acute inflammation typically lasts for less than 2-3 weeks before it goes away; however chronic inflammation can last for months or even years.


2. Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a type of inflammatory response that does not go away as quickly as normal inflammation. It lasts for an extended period of time and causes many problems in our bodies. This can lead to pain or discomfort, fatigue, decreased physical functioning, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases including diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and more. 


Immune system and inflammation

An immune system is a group of cells that are designed to protect us from infections. It does this by making antibodies against invading germs or substances that are harmful to your body. But sometimes it can also attack healthy cells in your body resulting in chronic inflammation which is not good for you because it can lead to health problems like heart disease, atherosclerosis, or even cancer!


Causes of inflammation

There are many different causes of inflammation, including infections by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Non-infectious causes include burns, chemicals, or radiation. Inflammation is part of the body's immune response ' fight against infection '. This makes it useful as a defense system but can result in damage if not regulated correctly.

Bacteria are the most common living organisms found on the surface of the Earth. They can be found in soil, water, and even your body. But what exactly are bacteria? Bacteria are microscopic cells that live by consuming other organisms or organic compounds. There are so many different types of bacteria! Some cause diseases like the flu while others help us break down food for nutrients.

A virus is a living organism that can only replicate by infecting other organisms. They are found in water, soil, food, and air; on the skin of mammals; and even on your countertops. Some viruses can cause disease or illness while others do not cause any symptoms at all. However, most viruses cannot survive outside of their hosts for very long without protection from sunlight or dry conditions. Viruses are generally not destroyed with disinfectants like soap and alcohol because they may be resistant to these ingredients due to mutations over time. The best way to protect yourself against this type of infection is with vaccination."

There are over one hundred thousand types of fungi in the world. Fungi can be found all around us and inside our bodies. Some parasites grow on other organisms to survive, while others help decompose organic matter or produce chemical substances that have medical benefits. Fungi are used for making cheese, antibiotics, enzymes, and vitamins!

Radiations are a form of energy that is transferred by electromagnetic waves. This type of radiation can come from the sun, nuclear power plants, cellphones, and microwaves. Radiations have been found to be harmful to living organisms and can lead to serious health problems such as cancer or genetic mutations.


symptoms of inflammation

Redness, heat, swelling, and pain are symptoms associated with acute inflammation that only occur in response to injury or illness. People who have chronic inflammation show symptoms such as fatigue, general discomfort, and psychological stress.

People with chronic inflammation may also show symptoms such as frequent headaches, depression, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disorders. Symptoms vary depending on the specific disease or condition causing the inflammation.


inflammed joint
inflammation 2nd pic

How Are Inflammatory Diseases Diagnosed?

When diagnosing inflammatory disease, doctors usually use a combination of the following:

  • Physical examination to check for common symptoms such as pain and morning stiffness.
  • Radiographs, which are x-rays of the affected joints to see if there is any damage.
  • Laboratory tests for biomarkers in the blood that may indicate inflammation, such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP).

The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is a test used to measure inflammation. It's one of the most commonly ordered tests in many medical specialties, including cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, and orthopedics. 

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein in the blood that has been measured to be elevated in patients who have inflammation. CRP levels can be used as a marker for cardiovascular disease and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease, etc...The higher the CRP level, the more severe the inflammation. 

C-reactive protein (CRP) is an important biomarker of inflammatory diseases and cardiovascular risk factors. The measurement of this biomarker may provide physicians with valuable information to better assess their patient’s health status and guide treatment choices accordingly.


Treatment of Inflammation

Inflammatory diseases can be treated with medications, rest, exercise, surgery to correct the damage. Your treatment plan will depend on your type of disease and age. 

The goals of treatment are to:

  1. Correct the process; 
  2. avoid activities that make symptoms worse; 
  3. manage pain with pain medicine and anti-inflammatory drugs; 
  4. keep joints moving with physical therapy; 


Medicines

  •  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are medications taken to reduce pain and inflammation. They include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and more. The most common side effects of these medications are stomach irritation, diarrhea, heartburn, and ulcers. There is also an increased risk for kidney disease with long-term use of NSAIDs.
  • Corticosteroids are a group of drugs that help reduce inflammation. If you have an allergy, asthma, or inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor might prescribe corticosteroids to help control the symptoms. But these medications can also cause side effects like weight gain and high blood sugar levels in some people with diabetes. 
  • hydroxychloroquine
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are a class of medications that can help slow or stop the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. DMARDs work by controlling inflammation and pain in the joints, muscles, and bones. The two most commonly used DMARDs are methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine. 
  • Biologic drugs. etanercept, infliximab etc.


Prevention

There are many things you can do to prevent inflammation from becoming excessive and causing harm to your health! 

The most important thing you can do to prevent inflammation is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking or using tobacco products, drinking alcohol in moderation if you drink at all, managing your stress levels through activities like meditation or yoga. If you are overweight or obese it is important to lose weight in a way that is healthy for you in order to reduce inflammation. 


Anti-inflammatory foods

Some foods contain natural anti-inflammatory properties which can promote general health and wellness! Many of these foods are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like wild-caught salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, or mackerel. Some vegetables are also loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and essential amino acids. The best way to get the benefits of foods that fight inflammation is to eat them raw or lightly steamed.



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I'm a young blogger who loves reading and writing. I always wanted to be a writer since I was very little, but it took me until the end of high school to figure out what that meant. In college, I discovered my love for reading and how much it can change your life. It's really been an amazing journey from there on out!

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