Inflammation is normally a sign of a healthy immune response. Without it we may not become aware of areas that require healing. It is a defense mechanism against intruders. These intruders can be in the form of foreign objects as simple as a sliver or a thorn. They can be irritants such as chemicals, radiation or even pollen.... aka allergies. Or, they can be pathogens that would include bacteria, viruses, and other organisms such as fungus.
There are actually 4 different kinds of inflammation:
- Acute (lasts a few days)
- Subacute (the stage between acute and chronic that lasts 2-6 weeks)
- Chronic (lasts months, years, or your lifetime)
- Silent (no symptoms displayed)
For the purpose of this discusstion the focus will primarily be on the inflammation signs and symptoms of acute and chronic inflammation.
Acute Inflammation: Signs and Symptoms
There are five key signs of acute inflammation:
- When touched only
- The immune response sends out inflammatory mediators (histamines are one example)
- Inflammatory mediators expand blood vessels increasing blood supply to the area
- Swelling (edema)
- Inflammatory mediators increases fluid to the area
- Helps to flush out the "nasties"
- Loss of (decrease in) Function
- Painful joint (difficulty moving)
- Breathing (such as difficulty breathing due to bronchitis)
- Sense of Smell (reduction of loss due to cold)
- Increased blood flow will leave the affected area warm to the touch
- Tired, Fever, Generally feeling unwell
Chronic Inflammation: Signs and Symptoms
Chronic inflammation happens when the body mistakenly perceives its own cells or tissues as harmful, as an "intruder". This can then lead to autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes, Chrohn's, or Ulcerative Colitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Chronic inflammation can also contribute to other chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and Psoriasis. Each of these have their own specific symptoms.
If you find yourself already in a chronic inflammatory condition, consider seeking medical help for possible tests.
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