What is Inflammation?
There are two types of inflammation: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a protective response from the body. It is usually localized and aims at repairing the damaged tissues of the body. This action is beneficial to people. The process of inflammation involves the molecular mediators, the human immune system cells, and the vessels. The purpose of inflammation is to eliminate harmful stimuli. To initiate the repair process, defence cells remove bacteria, tissues, and dead cells.
Acute inflammation starts quickly and in a short time severe clinical manifestations of acute inflammation are present; these may last for a few days or persist for a few weeks.
Some situations, diseases or conditions may lead to acute inflammation. These include:
• A sore throat resulting from flu or cold
• Infected ingrown toenail
• A cut or scratch on the skin
• Acute bronchitis
• Acute tonsillitis
• Acute sinusitis
• An intense exercise or training
• Acute appendicitis
Chronic inflammation is an inflammation that affects the entire body, unlike acute inflammation, which is localized. Chronic inflammation results from the free circulation of harmful infective substances through the bloodstream. This may damage several organs in the body.
Some situations, diseases or conditions may lead to chronic inflammation. These include:
• Chronic periodontitis
• Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
• Chronic peptic ulcer disease
• Chronic sinusitis
• Chronic active hepatitis
• Type 2 diabetes mellitus
• High blood pressure
• Sexual impotence
• Chronic fatigue
• Some autoimmune disease like lupus erythematosus
• Accelerated aging process
Damaged tissue, wounds or infections do not heal without inflammation. Instead, more tissues become damaged, and when it happens the person may die.
Signs of Acute Inflammation:
• Pain: The area of inflammation becomes painful to touch. This is because of the release of chemicals by nerve endings when stimulated. The area becomes more sensitive.
• Redness: The capillaries become filled with blood. This is not usually normal and it causes red coloration.
• Swelling: There is an accumulation of fluid, which causes swelling.
• Heat: This increased blood flow to the area that causes redness increases the temperature of the affected area.
The serum levels of some substances in the blood are changed by inflammatory acute phase reactants, causing tissue damage. There are trauma, infections, inflammatory arthritis and infection, which are chronic, or acute inflammatory processes stimuli.
Detection and measurement of inflammation can be done by blood tests. These include Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), Human C-reactive Protein Ultrasensitive (huCRP), fibrinogen, insulin, triglycerides, ferritin anlantitrypsin and homocysteine.
Impact of inflammation on sleep quality and duration
In a recent research, it was deduced that poor quality of sleep or sleep deprivation can result from higher levels of inflammation. This leads to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Increased risks to obese people
According to research, it shows that those who are obese or overweight have more inflammatory markers (white blood cells) than the people who are not overweight or obese but of the same age. Increased level of white blood cells has been linked to a higher risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease.
Natural treatment for inflammation
Devil’s claw, according to the British herbal pharmacopeia, has sedative, diuretic and analgesic properties. It is also known as wood spider or grapple plant, and it originates from South Africa.
Ginger is another agent that is used as a spice and also as a medicine. It has been recognized to treat inflammation for hundreds of years. Ginger can also be used to treat constipation, dyspepsia, colic and other gastrointestinal problems. Its use in treating rheumatoid arthritis pain is well known. It has been observed the ginger can reduce the markers of colon inflammation, which can lead to colon cancer; ginger supplement is used for preventing colon cancer.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and ginger are of the same family. Research is currently being carried out to determine the usage of turmeric in treating arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other inflammatory conditions.