Inflammatory Disease: What Is It & What Causes It?

inflammatory disease in the knee
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Media seems to be full of talk of inflammatory disease these days, but still many people are none the wiser. This is not some new type of disease, inflammatory disease has been with us since the beginning of our evolution.

As a matter of fact, inflammatory disease is not a very accurate description. Inflammatory diseases would be a much better term to use as this is a range of diseases. However, the concept behind the majority of inflammatory diseases is the same, and most of our illnesses are caused by inflammation.

What is Inflammatory Disease?

We actually need inflammation. That may sound crazy but inflammation is an important part of the physiology of our bodies. Most of the time the body can fight off inflammation by itself, and does not need us interfering, but on occasion it might need some help to fight off inflammation.

Basically, inflammation is a response to a harmful event which has taken place in the body. It might be damaged cells, dangerous substances or irritants. The body reacts by raising the alarm and starts to heat up the area.

You know that you are suffering from inflammation when you experience heat, redness, pain and swelling. Sometimes, if you have twisted your ankle for instance, you may even lose movement temporary.

Your immune system will now go to work, and try to deal with the inflammation. When our immune system is healthy, it has a whole arsenal of weapons it can throw at the inflammation. To improve your health, you need to boost your immune system.

What Causes Inflammation?

There are many outside factors which can cause inflammation, and most of them are part of every day life.

Falling over and twisting your ankle will cause inflammation. The cells and tissue in the ankle have now sustained damage, and most be repaired. The ankle will swell up to protect itself, and you may find it difficult to move. This is the body’s response to an injury which has caused inflammation.

Sometimes inflammation can be more serious. You may have an inflammation in a knee joint. Your body is signalling you that it has a problem, but you ignore it.

Instead of dealing with the problem you decide to take a couple of painkillers and forget about it. This is actually a kind of dangerous inflammation, and the reason is that it can spread or become permanent.

Doctors refer to this as self-perpetuating inflammation. This means that the the initial inflammation leads to more inflammation, and you are now suffering from inflammatory disease. The knee joint pain or neck pain, may have turned into osteoarthritis without you knowing about. Actually, you did know but you forgot to listen to your body.

Arterial Inflammation

You may have heard about the word plaque being associated with inflammation. Scientists have discovered that plaque deposited by fatty substances in our arteries is a sign of inflammation.

It may sound strange but it is correct. To function properly our arteries need to stretch and expand to let the blood circulate. When they can’t do that they become inflamed, and this can lead to what is now better known as peripheral arterial disease. We now know it can lead to heart disease.

Different Types of Inflammation

There are two different types of inflammation: acute and chronic inflammation. Both types of inflammation can be serious, and if our bodies cannot deal with them, we need to give it a little of help.

Acute Inflammation

Acute inflammation is not the same as infection. Infection is something completely different and refers to when a bacteria, virus or fungus infect our bodies.

This type of inflammation occurs quickly, and may even be as a result of sports injury. It is normally easier to treat as long as we deal with it quickly.

Good examples of acute health conditions are appendicitis, dermatitis, bronchitis and a sore throat. Even something so mundane as an ingrown toe nail is a sign of acute inflammation. There is even some evidence that wrinkles may be some type of acute inflammation.

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a type of inflammation which can linger for months and perhaps even years. It is normally a sign of an acute inflammation having been left untreated.

Examples of health problems associated with chronic inflammation are Crohn’s disease, arthritis, asthma and some peptic ulcers may also become chronically inflamed.

Knowing how to recognize the symptoms of inflammation is important. You should never rush to take a pain killer to stop the pain. Be on the look out for inflammation, and observe the inflammation protocol:

Pain
Redness
Heat
Swelling

If, you can’t successfully identify the underlying cause of the inflammation or health problem, you should always contact a medical professional.