Inflammation: What is it?

What is inflammation?

The five main symptoms of inflammation are listed below.

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Pain
  • Loss of function

This makes it sound like an awful thing, and it is uncomfortable. It is, however, a very necessary function to heal wounds and to protect the body from invading bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Without the inflammatory process, even minor wounds would fail to heal, and eventually compromise our survival after surrounding tissues are slowly destroyed. Inflammation is the body's biological response of vascular tissues. It is a complex process that occurs in response to exposure to pathogens such as bacteria, fungus, or virus, and is considered to be a type of immune response. In the case of allergies and similar hypersensitivities, the inflammatory process is incorrectly activated causing undesired effects.

When does it occur?

The inflammatory response is triggered anytime that the tissues in the body are perceived as being injured. Damage from trauma is the most common cause, but the source can also be bacteria, toxins, heat, or other substances that the immune system reacts to. Something as simple as a minor cut will start the acute inflammatory process. Some of the common scenarios that most people are familiar with include burns, infection, blunt trauma, and splinters. In short, anytime that your body perceives an injury or threat, it creates an immune response that aims to heal wounds, and fight any invasive substances off.

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