Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s protective response to injury, irritation, or pathogens (germs like bacteria, fungi, or viruses). Inflammation can also be triggered by exposure to radiation or certain chemicals. Inflammation can be acute or chronic.

What is acute inflammation?

Acute inflammation occurs when the immune system response is triggered by a specific and localized threat to the body. This type of inflammation can help to resolve injuries and infections within a limited time frame. Acute inflammation may result in increased blood flow, dilated blood vessels, and fever.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556083/  

5 Classic Symptoms of Acute Inflammation: 

  • Pain 
  • Heat
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Impaired function[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279298/  

What is chronic inflammation?

Chronic inflammation, also known as low-grade inflammation, happens when the body mounts an immune response over an extended period of time. Chronic inflammation is said to be a marker of disease. When the body is experiencing chronic inflammation, the symptoms are less obvious than those of acute inflammation. Symptoms of chronic inflammation are sometimes considered “invisible” because they don’t produce heat or swelling as acute inflammation does.[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/ 

Chronic inflammation is associated with several diseases, including cancer[4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803035/ and heart disease.[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5488800/ Studies suggest that a healthy diet[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579563/ and exercise [7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629815/ may help reduce levels of chronic inflammation in the body. 

What is autoimmune disease?

When the inflammatory response is mistakenly directed towards an otherwise healthy body part, this is called autoimmune disease. This chronic inflammation can lead to organ and tissue damage.[8]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421792/ 

There are over 100 known autoimmune conditions. Common autoimmune diseases include: 

  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Celiac disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)[9]https://www.aarda.org/diseaselist/