Inflammation, in short, is the body’s attempt at self-protection.
Its main aim is to remove harmful stimuli. The natural response to irritation, injury, or infection.
Without inflammation, we cannot heal.
Keep in mind that all inflammation is NOT bad, even though it can be extremely painful at times.
The Body’s Natural Defence System
Our bodies are powerful systems.
Innate immunity is present when we are born.
Adaptive immunity we get after an infection or vaccination.
Inflammation is part of our innate immunity.
Our skin and mucous membranes act as physical barriers, while Lysozyme ( found in sweat and tears ) are capable of destroying many would-be invaders chemically.
Upon infection, the body responds with the inflammatory response. A response of a tissue to injury, often caused by invading pathogens.
This response attacks all foreign invaders.
It is characterized by:
- Increased blood flow to the tissue
- Increased temperature
Clinically speaking there are two main types of inflammation, namely acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue damage.
This is the type of inflammation you don’t want to be without.
Acute inflammation starts rapidly and usually lasts only a few days until the injury has passed through its first stages of healing.
There are 5 signs which indicate acute inflammation, also referred to as PRISH.
- ( P )ain
- ( R )edness
- ( I )mmobility
- ( S )welling
- ( H )eat
Acute inflammation can be the result of a scratch or cut on the skin, intense exercise or even an ingrown toenail.
Other common conditions and diseases which result in acute inflammation often have names ending with “itis”.
Some of these include:
- Otitis media
When inflammation is no longer an acute response and remains a constant physiological response, it becomes chronic.
This occurs when the body no longer has the ability to turn off the inflammatory response and inevitably begins to damage healthy tissue.
This is long-term inflammation which can persist for years.
Potential causes of chronic inflammation include:
- Poor diet / trigger foods / food allergies
- Insulin levels
- Physical stress
- Emotional stress
- Digestive issues
- Poor sleep
- A chronic irritant of low intensity
- The immune system attacking healthy tissue
- Failure to eliminate the cause of acute inflammation
Conditions with chronic inflammatory responses include:
- Chronic sinusitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic peptic ulcer
- Chronic periodontitis
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Chronic active hepatitis
- Asthma and many other conditions…
Inflammation is not always obvious, and it may silently affect every single cell in your body without you even knowing.
This is what is called systemic inflammation, as it affects your whole system.
Ailments linked to systemic inflammation include:
- Joint pain
- Premature ageing
Immunity & Pain
Inflammation has the ability to cause acute or chronic pain.
This is the inevitable result of inflammatory swelling pushing against the sensitive nerve endings.
The first stage is often called irritation, which becomes inflammation, also known as the healing process.
Bacteria and viruses want to enter our bodies at all times.
When this happens, the injured cells will immediately send out distress signals.
Damaged mast cells in the connective tissue release histamine which immediately changes the behavior of blood cells in the affected area, causing an increase in blood flow.
This increase in blood flow is the reason for the swelling and redness associated with inflammation.
The capillaries within the injured tissue will now begin to dilate and become leaky, a vital step in the effective inflammatory response.
Cells near the site of injury will now release a series of chemical signals which radiate from the site of inflammation.
White blood cells then make their way onto the scene and the wound can now start to heal.
Thank goodness for inflammation, because without it, our wounds and infections would never heal.
Here are common anti-inflammatory foods, all of which you may already have in your kitchen.
There are many herbs with anti-inflammatory properties, including:
- Devil’s claw
- Cayenne pepper
Other great all-natural treatments include:
- Spinach – Choose green and brightly colored vegetables and whole fruits.
- Green tea – Be sure to drink water, 100% fruit juice and herbal teas.
- Omega 3 – Anti-inflammatory protein sources include most fish and seafood.
Maintaining a healthy weight also appears to be helpful for reducing pain and inflammatory responses.
To learn more on why you should opt for natural treatments, please read Prescription Drugs Kill.