If you search the term #inflammation on here, you will invariably find a wide variety of messages. Mostly ads for selling products & strange regimes for an “anti inflammatory diet”. So, what is it?
Inflammation is the body’s systemic response to some sort of foreigner or irritant that instigates the inflammatory response. .
Increased blood flow brings all the fighting crew of the immune system (a complex cocktail of different chemicals) to deal with the issue. This increased blood flow can make the area red, swollen, painful and hot to touch. Sometimes this can even lead to loss of function (like decreased sensation). The heat and swelling helps the vascular vessels dilate, making it easier for the specific healer cells to get to where they need to be.
A metaphor I like to use is this:
Think of the trigger for inflammation as a bystander that witnesses an accident. They call triple zero. The call centre alerts the fire brigade, police and paramedics (the immune response). Sometimes the witness shares enough info that the call centre knows to also send hazmat, forensics and police rescue (an extreme immune response). They hope to respond to the emergency by either shutting down the threat, containing the threat or going in to damage control to salvage the mess.
Most of the time, inflammation is short term (like the scrape to the knee), but some times it can be chronic (dermatitis, for example). .
So what’s the big deal about inflammation?
Inflammation is a vital, normal process of the immune response. If the body didn’t respond to attacks, then we’d be in trouble. Inflammation shouts “hey, there’s a problem, come and fix this up immune system - you’re up!”. If this inflammation is prolonged, it can lead to chronic health conditions - like heart disease or diabetes. This is a very complex cascade of events that is triggered by the acute inflammation not being able to fix the issue, or the signals alerting the emergency crew get mixed. .
What contributes to inflammation?
Poor sleep, high stress, high-saturated fat diets can contribute to inflammation, although the mechanisms are poorly understood.
What would you like to know about inflammation? - 27 minutes ago