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INFLAMMATION - How Do I Know I Have An Inflammation

2 months ago | Medical

The word “inflammation” traces back to the Latin word for “set afire.”

Inflammation is a process by which your body's white blood cells and the things they make protect you from infection from outside invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.

Inflammation is actually a good thing in short term cases because it's part of the immune system's natural response to heal an injury and fight infections but once this process is complete, it’s supposed to stop.

Therefore, inflammation becomes a problem when it becomes a long-lasting visitor to your body. This is called Chronic inflammation.


Types of Inflammation

Inflammation can either be acute or chronic.

Acute inflammation goes away within hours or days while Chronic inflammation can last months or years, even after the first trigger is gone. Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include:

  • Cancer

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Asthma

  • Alzheimer’s disease

What Are the Symptoms of Inflammation?

Symptoms of inflammation include:

  • Redness

  • A swollen joint that may be warm to the touch

  • Joint pain

  • Joint stiffness

  • A joint that doesn’t work as well as it should

Often, you’ll have only a few of these symptoms.

Inflammation may also cause flu-like symptoms including:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Fatigue/loss of energy

  • Headaches

  • Loss of appetite

  • Muscle stiffness


Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation happens when a physical factor triggers an immune reaction. Inflammation does not necessarily mean that there is an infection, but an infection can cause inflammation.


How Are Inflammatory Diseases Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam focusing on painful points while asking some questions.

They’ll also look at the results of X-rays and blood tests for biomarkers such as:

  • C-reactive protein (CRP)

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)


Can Inflammation Affect Internal Organs?

Inflammation can affect your organs as part of an autoimmune disorder. The symptoms depend on which organs are affected. For example:

  • Inflammation of your heart (myocarditis) may cause shortness of breath or fluid buildup.

  • Inflammation of the small tubes that take air to your lungs may cause shortness of breath.

  • Inflammation of your kidneys (nephritis) may cause high blood pressure or kidney failure.

You might not have pain with an inflammatory disease, because many organs don’t have many pain-sensitive nerves.


Treatment for Inflammation

Treatment for inflammatory diseases may include taking medications, having adequate rest, exercising often, and surgery to correct joint damage. 

Treatment plans however will depend on several things, including the type of disease, age, medications being taken, overall health, and how severe the symptoms are.

The goals of treatment are to:

  • Correct, control, or slow down the disease process

  • Avoid or change activities that aggravate pain

  • Ease pain through pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Keep joint movement and muscle strength through physical therapy

  • Lower the stress on joints.


Medications for Inflammation

Many drugs can ease pain, swelling and inflammation. They may also prevent or slow inflammatory disease. Doctors often prescribe more than one. The medications include:

  • Aspirins or Ibuprofen

  • Antimalarial medications (such as hydroxychloroquine)

  • And other medications as prescribed 

Inflammation in most cases is usually nothing to worry about but the moment it becomes a regular visitor to your body, please do not hesitate to consult your doctor.