How Much Do We Really Know About Inflammation?

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Learning About Inflammation and How It Affects the Body

Inflammation is considered a part of our innate immunity. Innate immunity is referred as the immunity that is naturally present in our body by the time we are born and not the adaptive immunity that we get after being exposed to a vaccination or an infection. Innate immunity is generally non specific. On the other hand, adaptive immunity is specific to one pathogen. Basically, inflammation is considered a mechanism of innate immunity.

Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to stimulus. Examples of inflammatory mechanisms include bacteria colonizing a wound or perhaps a splinter piercing the finger. Basically, inflammation happens whenever the immune system fights against something that is harmful to the body.

Acute Inflammation versus Chronic Inflammation

There are two types of inflammation, acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation is characterized by rapid onset and quick to become severe. The signs and symptoms of acute inflammation may only be present for a few days. However, there are some cases when the signs and symptoms persist for several weeks. Disease conditions that may induce acute inflammation include infected ingrown toenail, acute bronchitis, and a sore throat, a cut on the skin, acute dermatitis, acute tonsillitis, acute appendicitis, and acute sinusitis.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is referred to as long term inflammation. This can last for several months to years. This type of inflammation can result from the failure to eliminate the cause of acute inflammation, a chronic irritant of low intensity, and an autoimmune response to self antigen which means that the immune system attacks healthy body tissues mistaking it for harmful pathogens. There are various examples of disease conditions that cause chronic inflammation. Such disease conditions include asthma, tuberculosis, chronic peptic ulcer disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Chron’s disease.

The wounds, tissue damages, and infections of the body will never heal without undergoing some form of inflammation. This is a normal response of the body’s immune system. However, with chronic inflammation, complications can arise like cancers, atherosclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, inflammation must be well regulated.

What happens during acute inflammation?

Within a few seconds after the tissue on the body is injured, acute inflammation will start to appear. The damage may be caused by a physical blow or perhaps an immune response. To better understand about acute inflammation, you have to take note of the three main processes that occur before as well as during acute inflammation.

The first thing that happens is that there is increased blood flow to the injured part of the body. The arterioles will start to dilate to increase the blood flow. Right after this happens, the capillaries, which are connected to the arterioles, will start to become more permeable. This allows fluid as well as blood proteins to move into the interstitial spaces, which is the space between the cells. Then, the neutrophils and macrophages migrate out of the capillaries and move into the interstitial spaces. Both are a type of white blood cells that ingest foreign materials and microorganisms.

The Five Classical Signs of Acute Inflammation

The five cardinal signs of acute inflammation include pain, redness, immobility, swelling and heat. Pain is felt on the inflamed areas as chemicals are released when the nerve endings are stimulated. Moreover, the inflamed area becomes more sensitive. There is also redness on the area, as the capillaries will become filled with more blood than usual. At some point, immobility or loss of function may be experienced. Swelling is also experienced dues to the accumulation of fluid in the affected area. Since there is more blood in the affected area, the area becomes warm to touch.

Treatments for Inflammation

It is important to always remember that inflammation is part of the natural healing process of the body. There are certain cases when reducing the inflammation becomes necessary. However, this is not always the case.

There are several medications and treatment options for inflammation. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for the purpose of alleviating the pain that is caused by the inflammation. Basically, this type of medication will counteract the cyclooxygenase enzyme, which is primarily responsible for synthesizing prostaglandins which creates inflammation. Whenever prostaglandin synthesis is blocked, pain is significantly reduced or eliminated.
  • This type of medication can also help reduce pain associated with inflammatory conditions. While this medication may help reduce the pain, this does not have any effect on the actual inflammation.
  • This type of medication has anti-inflammatory properties. Basically, this medication prevents the release of phospholipids, which weaken eosinophil action and the other mechanisms associated in the body’s inflammatory response.

The Natural Approach to Treating Inflammation

Reducing inflammation is all about listening to the body. There are several ways to reduce your inflammatory response by adhering to anti-inflammatory healthy habits.

For instance, you can adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet. This type of diet comes with essential fatty acids like omega 3s. You can take a daily dose of omega 3 supplement or you can include a handful of nuts in your daily diet. You should also steer clear of known allergens and other known dietary irritants like dairy, egg, and wheat. Moreover, it is recommended that you eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Aside from modifying your diet, you can adopt other healthy habits to reduce inflammatory response of the body. For instance, you can perform physical activity every day. You can fuel your body with numerous anti-inflammatory agents by means of exercising every day. You can start simple by taking a five minute walk to build your stamina.

Another way to reduce inflammatory response is to allow your body to relax. If you experience chronic stress, you should find some time to relax by meditating or joining therapies. Resting is also ideal as this will not only improve your body but also help it recover from damages. In fact, this is considered a great anti-inflammatory medicine.

Breaking your bad habits like excessive alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking also improves inflammatory response of the body. A good way to help your body heal and recover is to eliminate such bad habits.

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/about-inflammation

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072482/

http://www.livescience.com/52344-inflammation.html

https://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/reducing-inflammation/

 

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