Inflammation is a hot topic theses days, it appears to be connected to every known chronic condition we know of! Chronic conditions like asthma, arthritis and other autoimmune diseases seems to be increasing dramatically.
Inflammation is a complex and necessary response in our bodies to protect and heal damage caused by trauma or by certain pathogens. Inflammation is part of our innate immune system, which is our first line of defense and we are born with.
A simplistic way to explain how the immune system works is as follows
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When inflammation occurs at a site of injury, chemicals from the bodies of he white blood cells are released at the affected site. The release of the chemicals trigger and increased blood flow at the site, some of the fluid leaks into the surrounding tissue to and the result is swelling. This process can affect the nerves and cause pain! With increased blood the repair process begins.
The definition of inflammation is: a protective tissue response to injury or destruction of tissues, which serves to destroy, dilute, or wall off both the injurious agent and the injured tissues. For the purposes of this article we focus on two forms, acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation has a rapid onset and the signs and symptoms are only present for a couple of days normally. Examples are a scrape on the skin, sunburn, acute sinusitis etc.
Chronic Inflammation lasts for several months and can be the result of the failure to eliminate the cause of the acute inflammation, the immune system attacking healthy tissue or an irritant that persists. Examples include Asthma, Rheumatoid arthritis etc. Chronic inflammation can cause diseases like some cancers, atherosclerosis, hay fever and even obesity.
How do we spot inflammation in the body?
We can refer to the cardinal sights of inflammation which depending on the literature lists four or five signs, not all the symptoms has to be present though. Chronic inflammation can be a bit harder to pinpoint, symptoms sometime presenting themselves as flu like symptoms.
Below is what to look for if you suspect you are suffering from an inflammatory condition.
The Cardinal symptoms of inflammation to look out for are:
3) Increased heat/warm to touch
5) Loss of function
Other symptoms of possible chronic inflammation to look out for:
3) Fatigue, trouble getting out of bed
5) Loss of appetite
6) Muscle stiffness
7) Ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome
8) Increased hear rate(above 90 beats per minute)
9) Higher respiratory rate
10) Weight gain