Inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens — and begin the healing process.
When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it, the signs and symptoms of inflammation, specifically acute inflammation, show that the body is trying to heal itself. Inflammation does not mean infection, even when an infection causes inflammation. Infection is caused by a bacterium, virus or fungus, while inflammation is the body’s response to it.
What is the difference between chronic inflammation and acute inflammation?
Acute inflammation — starts rapidly (rapid onset) and quickly becomes severe. Signs and symptoms are only present for a few days, but in some cases may persist for a few weeks.
Examples of diseases, conditions, and situations which can result in acute inflammation include: acute bronchitis, infected ingrown toenail, sore throat from a cold or flu, a scratch/cut on the skin, exercise (especially intense training), acute appendicitis, acute dermatitis, acute tonsillitis, acute sinusitis, or a blow.
Chronic inflammation — this means long-term inflammation, which can last for several months and even years. It can result from:
Failure to eliminate whatever was causing an acute inflammation
An autoimmune response to a self antigen — the immune system attacks healthy tissue, mistaking it (them) for harmful pathogens.
A chronic irritant of low intensity that persists.
Examples of diseases and conditions with chronic inflammation include: asthma, chronic peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic periodontitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, chronic sinusitis, and chronic active hepatitis (there are many more).
Our infections, wounds and any damage to tissue would never heal without inflammation — tissue would become more and more damaged and the body, or any organism, would eventually perish.
However, chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, and hay fever. Inflammation needs to be well regulated.
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