Inflammation

Introduction

Inflammation is part of the complex biological reaction of the tissues of the body to harmful stimuli, such as bacteria, damaged cells or irritants, and is a defensive reaction involving immune cells, blood vessels and molecular mediators. 

Inflammation has the purpose of removing the initial cause of cell injury, clearing necrotic cells and damaged tissues from the initial insult and inflammatory process, and initiating tissue repair.

Inflammation is a generalized response, and thus, opposed to adaptive immunity, which is unique to each pathogen, it is regarded as a mechanism of innate immunity. Too little inflammation could cause the harmful stimulus (e.g. bacteria) to slowly kill tissue and threaten the organism’s survival.

There are two main types of inflammation:

  1. Acute inflammation: It typically occurs for a short time (though sometimes severe). In two weeks or less, it generally resolves itself. Symptoms soon emerge of an injury or illness after acute inflammation is seen in the body.
  1. Chronic inflammation: It is a slower form of inflammation and usually less severe. Usually, it lasts longer than 6 weeks. Even when there is no prominent disease, injury or illness, it can happen, and it doesn’t necessarily stop when the disease or injury is cured. Autoimmune conditions and even prolonged stress have been associated with chronic inflammation.

Inflammation symptoms

The five major signs that indicate the presence of inflammation are:

  • heat
  • pain
  • redness
  • swelling
  • loss of function

Symptoms widely depend on the stage and condition that causes the inflammation in the body. Other symptoms that are observed in chronic inflammation include:

  • body pain
  • constant fatigue and insomnia
  • depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
  • gastrointestinal issues, like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux
  • weight gain
  • frequent infections

Causes that lead to inflammation in the body

There are different factors which cause inflammation in the body. 

This include:

  • Acute and chronic disorders 
  • Some drugs 
  • The body cannot quickly remove exposure to irritants or foreign materials. 

A chronic inflammatory response may also arise from repeated episodes of acute inflammation. 

In persons with autoimmune conditions, there are also certain forms of foods that can induce or exacerbate inflammation. 

These foods include:

  • sugar
  • refined carbohydrates
  • alcohol
  • processed meats
  • trans fats

Treatment of Inflammation

There are a number of tests that can be carried out which show the presence of inflammation in the body. It can be as easy to combat inflammation as improving one’s diet.Inflammation is greatly subsided by eliminating sugar, trans fats, and processed foods. Some common anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • berries and cherries
  • fatty fish
  • broccoli
  • avocados
  • green tea
  • Tomatoes

Other remedies that can be practiced are:

  • Consistently take required vitamins. 
  • To decrease swelling and pain,  hot or cold treatment for physical wounds can be used.
  • Exercise more often.
  • Manage and lower the levels of stress. 
  • Stop smoking. 
  • Treat any preexisting conditions and control them.

Other treatment options:

NSAIDs and aspirin

In treating short-term pain and inflammation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are typically the first line of protection. It is an over the counter drug.

NSAIDs that are popular include: 

  • Aspirin
  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Midol) 
  • naproxen (Aleve)

Corticosteroids 

Corticosteroids are a form of steroid widely used to treat allergic reactions as well as swelling and inflammation. 

Typically, corticosteroids come as either a nasal spray or an oral pill. 

Article By- Ria Fazulbhoy (MSIWM031)

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