Thursday, 29 December 2016

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a process by which the body's white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses when we are sick or injured ourselves.

Inflammation can also cause chronic diseases

In some diseases, like arthritis, the body's defence system -- the immune system -- triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. In these diseases, the body's normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.

This harmful inflammatory responses can last for years in severity and activity and are called chronic inflammatory or autoimmune diseases.

Arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation in the joints. Some types of arthritis associated with inflammation include rheumatism, gout and psoriatic arthritis.

There is evidence pointing to a connection between long-term inflammation leads to the development of tumours - the enlargement of organ or tissues with abnormal cells in large number - as inflammation co-ordinates the defence, tissue repair and regeneration, which may occur due to infectious or non-infectious tissue damage.

Symptoms of inflammation include:
  • Redness
  • Swollen joint warm to the touch
  • Joint pain
  • Joint/muscle stiffness
  • Loss of joint function
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite

What Causes Inflammation and What Are Its Effects?

When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body's white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to protect your body from foreign invaders. This release of chemicals cause the narrow blood vessels in the tissue to expand, allowing more blood to reach the injured tissue, may result in inflamed area turns red and hot.

The defence cells also carry more fluid into the inflamed tissue, which is why it often swells up to protect and stimulate nerves and may cause pain. After this fluid is transported out of the tissue once again a while later and the swelling goes down.

Example when you have a stuffy nose and the nasal mucous membranes are inflamed. The defence chemicals will release nasal secretions which can help to quickly flush the viruses out of the body.

Sometimes you may feel tired or sick during inflammation. This is a sign that the immune system is very active and most of the energy will channel to the injured area and not elsewhere. Hence, it is best for you to rest when you are feeling tired or exhausted.

If you are hungry, it is a call from your body to eat something so that more defence cells can be produced.


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