Inflammation is a natural and non-specific reaction that occurs in the body because of a trauma, burn, injury, viral or bacterial infection and other situations of danger to the body.
When something irritating or injurious attacks a part of the body, there is a biological response when trying to remove it.
The signs and symptoms of acute inflammation (inflammatory process) show that the body is trying to heal itself.
Inflammation does not mean infection , although this can cause inflammation.
Infection is the invasion of bacteria, viruses or fungi, while inflammation is the body’s response to this type of aggression.
What is the difference between acute and chronic inflammation?
Acute inflammation is initiated from a few seconds to a few minutes after tissue damage, for example as soon as a knee injury occurs.
The damage may be purely physical or may result from the activation of an immune response.
There are three main processes:
- Increased blood flow due to dilation of blood vessels (arterioles), which reach the tissues
- Increased permeability of capillaries that allow blood proteins to move in interstitial spaces (between cells)
- The migration of neutrophils (and possibly some macrophages) from capillaries and venules within the interstitial spaces.
The first two effects are visible for a few minutes after a scratch that does not break the skin.
On the first shelf, the sign is visible as a pale red line.
Then, a few millimeters next to the scratches, the tissue turns red as soon as the blood flow increases locally.
Finally, if it creates an edema, this means that the area swells with accumulation of fluid in the interstitial spaces of the region.
1) Margination, rolling and adhesion
The endothelium of the blood vessel is the inner wall of the arteries.
Initially, neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) bind to the endothelium of blood vessels.
The binding is caused by some molecules called cell adhesion molecules (CAM) that are found on the surface of neutrophils and endothelial cells in injured tissues. The association occurs in two steps.
- In the first case, the adhesion molecules called selectins bind the neutrophils to the arterial endothelial cells and the white globules begin to roll along the surface of the blood vessels.
- In the second phase, neutrophils create a closer bond in the endothelial cells
Sometimes pus forms in the area where there is acute inflammation, especially until a foreign body remains in the tissue.
Analysis of pus shows that it is rich in neutrophils.
Diapedese is the delivery of blood cells from the veins and arteries through the walls of small vessels.
Chemotaxis is the movement towards or away from a particular substance.
Once the neutrophils are released from blood vessels, they are attracted to a high concentration of viruses and bacteria, then they turn to infection.
Neutrophils recognize and ingest bacteria and viruses, fit them into vesicles where they will die.
Chronic inflammation means inflammation in the long run, in fact it can last for several months and even years, for example, many people know the chronic inflammation of the prostate.
This disease can be caused by:
- The inability to eliminate the cause of an acute inflammation,
- An autoimmune response, ie the immune system attacks healthy tissues confused with harmful pathogens,
- An irritant substance in contact with the body that remains,
- Examples of diseases with chronic inflammation are asthma , peptic ulcer , tuberculosis , rheumatoid arthritis , Crohn’s disease , chronic sinusitis and chronic active hepatitis.
Infections, wounds, and tissue damage do not heal without an inflammation.
However, chronic inflammation can eventually cause different diseases: some tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis and hay fever .
Eliminating chronic inflammation is much more difficult and time is much longer.
How Many People Suffer From Chronic Spinal Pain Or Chronic Sinusitis? If you take an anti-inflammatory and enough to solve the problem, we would all be happy and happy, unfortunately sometimes for other reasons can not heal well.
In the case of the spine may be posture , a problem in the foot that affects the spine, or a disorder of organs and viscera.
While the cause is not cleared, the inflammation remains despite the medication.
Causes: Harmful bacteria or tissue injury.
Appearance (when inflammation begins): immediately.
Duration: short, only a few days.
Results, inflammation improves (resolution), can become an abscess or a chronic inflammation
Causes: Non-degradable pathogens that cause persistent inflammation, infection by certain types of virus, unexposed foreign bodies, hyperactive immune system reactions.
Duration: several months or years
Results: destruction of tissue and scarring, thickening of connective tissue (fibrosis), and death of cells or tissues ( necrosis ).
The five signs of acute inflammation
Inflammation manifests itself with five different signs:
- Pain – the inflamed area is likely to be painful, especially to the touch. Some chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released and make the area more sensitive.
- Redness – this is because the capillaries are filled with blood.
- Immobility – There may be a loss of functionality.
- Swelling (or edema) – caused by an accumulation of fluid, the area swells because the fluid accumulates in the interstitial spaces.
- Heat – the same reason redness is formed, more blood in the affected area that feels warm to the touch.
Why does inflammation cause pain?
When people have an inflammation, it often does bad, feels pain, stiffness and maybe agony depending on the severity.
The pain can be constant and stable.
Inflammation causes pain because the swelling pushes against the sensitive nerve endings (nociceptors) that send pain signals to the brain. Nerve endings send pain signals to the brain throughout the day, however, the brain ignores most of them unless it increases the pressure against the nerve endings.
Inflammation and autoimmune diseases
An autoimmune disease is a disease in which the body initiates an immune response against the healthy tissue, confusing with harmful or irritating pathogens. Thus, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response.
There are hundreds of autoimmune diseases and almost all have the characteristic signs of inflammation, we have listed some examples.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – is an inflammation of the joints, the tissues that are around and sometimes of some organs of the body.
Ankylosing Spondylitis – is an inflammation of the vertebrae, muscles, ligaments and also of the sacroiliac joints (between the sacrum and pelvis) that can cause mild fever .
Celiac disease – is the inflammation and destruction of the inner wall of the small intestine.
Crohn’s disease – a disease of the gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed. Inflammation is most common in the ileum (small intestine), but can occur at any point in the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus.
Graves Disease – One of the signs is the goiter if the thyroid gland is inflamed. Exophthalmus is the inflammation of the muscles behind the eyes.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – the role of inflammation is uncertain. Experts believe that idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is caused by inflammation of the alveoli (small sacs in the lungs). However, treatments to reduce inflammation are often disappointing.
Lupus – can cause inflammation in the joints, lungs, heart, kidneys and skin.
Psoriasis – there is an inflammation of the skin. In some cases, such as psoriatic arthritis, the joints and surrounding tissue may become inflamed.
Addison’s disease – inflammation of the adrenal glands.
Vasculitis – refers to a group of diseases in which inflammation eventually destroys blood vessels, arteries and veins.
Transplant rejection – there is already significant inflammation caused by the transplant operation. If the body’s immune system rejects the foreign body, an inflammation forms around the donated organ.
Various Allergies – All allergies are characterized by inflammation. Asthma is the inflammation of the respiratory tract, in hay fever the nose, ears and mucous membranes of the throat swell, while people who are allergic to bee stings can have a severe inflammation that affects the whole body (anaphylaxis).
Factors that contribute to inflammation
Many factors play an important role in the formation and maintenance of inflammation in the body, including physical imbalances, diet, allergies, sleep deprivation, overweight and age.
Physical condition. Incorrect postural alignment of the joints plays an important role in inflammatory diseases.
The internal rotation of the shoulder, the flexion of the thorax and the external rotation of the hips are problems of poor posture that cause pain or damage to areas that become inflamed (Sahrmann 2001).
Bad food. A major contributing factor to inflammation is the Western diet that is rich in saturated and unsaturated fats, simple carbohydrates and animal proteins (Sears 2005; Appleton 2004; Meggs, 2004).
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) does not advise this type of food that promotes cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and other autoimmune diseases (ADA 2007).
Hypersensitivity and food allergies that contribute to inflammation
The most common food allergies are wheat gluten, nuts or seafood.
Food intolerances may produce inflammatory reactions to certain foods, for example, dairy products, corn , soy, wheat, sugar and nuts (Meggs, 2004).
Other allergens. In addition to food there are other allergens such as chemicals, dust, mold and pollen that can trigger the release of chemical neurotransmitters called histamines by the immune system that trigger an inflammatory process in the blood vessels.
The allergic reaction may be mild (eg, itchy , runny nose ) or more severe (eg, increased blood pressure , swelling, shortness of breath ). Environmental pollutants, noise and cleaning products may increase inflammation (Meggs 2004; Appleton, 2004).
Insomnia. Lack of sleep is associated with inflammation.
Sleep is the time when the body recovers both mentally and physically.
That’s why experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep each night to work optimally.
Studies indicate that this time period is critical for the biochemical balance of substances such as growth hormone and cortisol (Dement, 2000).
Excess weight. Biochemical imbalances are also linked to an inflammation caused by an excess of intra-abdominal fat. In addition to a certain level, excess intra-abdominal fat produces substances that cause inflammation.
Old age. Another factor is old age or old age. With age, interleukin levels increase greatly, they play a role in the development of many diseases of aging, including heart disease, osteoporosis , Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.
Physical and mental stress factors
It should be noted that the immune system is well designed to deal with such physical stressors as microbes, sprain, hay fever, etc.
What is not clear, however, is how the immune system reacts to the accumulation of other physical stressors, poor diet, lack of sleep, allergies or intolerances, postural and joint misalignment, and foreign bodies.
In addition, behavioral scientists examined the effects of mental and emotional stressors on physiological health for about 80 years.
Important research has shown that mental stress factors are a challenge for homeostasis, such as influenza or muscle injury .
The body responds to physical, emotional and mental stress by releasing hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline that prepare the body for different actions.