Inflammation – Causes, Stages, Symptoms and Effects

Inflammation is a defense mechanism exhibited by the body as the immune system recognizes damaged cells, pathogens, and other foreign elements and it begins the healing process.

All the signs and symptoms of inflammation show that the body is trying to heal itself.


Causes of Inflammation

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Inflammation can be triggered by eating some foods, blood sugar imbalances, chronic stress, poor sleeping habits.

Others are environmental toxins, infections, smoking, alcohol, obesity, injuries and many more.

Stages of Inflammation

There are typically three stages of inflammation.

  • The first stage is the response when healing of any cause of inflammation like injuries begins.

There is increased blood flow to the local area and mobilization of cells to the area begins to initiate the healing process.

The damaged cells are removed, and new collagen gets accumulated near the area of injury.

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This phase is initiated almost immediately after the injury and lasts 3 to 5 days.

This stage is marked by pain, warmth, and swelling.

  • The next phase is repair and regeneration starting from new collagen formation.

New collagen fibers get accumulated in a disorganized manner in the form of a scar.

Weak links are formed between each fiber and hence any overly aggressive activity can cause a breakdown.

This phase lasts from 2 to 8 weeks. This phase is marked by the pain felt when there is a stretch of the tissue.

  • The final stage is remodeling and maturation when the tissue continues to remodel, strengthen and improve the cellular organization.

The organization of the collagen fibers and the bonds between them gets stronger.

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The new collagen orients along the lines of stress to best accommodate the loads required for various bodily functions.

This process may take months for completion.


Symptoms of Inflammation

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Inflammation exhibits noticeable symptoms like pain, redness, or swelling.

Chronic inflammation symptoms include fatigue, fever, mouth sores, rashes, abdominal pain, chest pain and many more.

Symptoms of inflammation can range from mild to severe and last for several months.


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Effects of Inflammation

Immunity cells ignore the healthy bacteria that live in the gut.

But for some people, such tolerance can be imbalanced, and their immune cells begin to fight against those healthy bacteria, creating chronic inflammation.

Inflammation of joints can cause serious damage such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

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Although RA is also caused by genetic disorders, smoking, a lack of vitamin D, and other risk factors, inflammation is one of the many reasons.

Psoriatic arthritis is another disorder connected with inflammation in the joints and it has symptoms similar to RA.

Formation of fatty plaque in the arteries and internal injuries such as blood vessel injury can cause chronic inflammation.

The fatty plaques attract white blood cells and form blood clots, which can cause cardiac arrest.

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Obesity can cause inflammation in the body.

Even healthy people can experience chronic inflammation due to an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or celiac disease.

Chronic inflammation is often linked to cancers of the lung, esophagus, cervix, and digestive tract.

The inflammation may be caused due to obesity, a chronic infection, a chemical irritant, or chronic condition all of which are linked to higher cancer risk.

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When the immune cells begin to produce inflammation, immune regulation deteriorates rapidly which causes cancerous growth.

People who have irregular sleeping patterns and sleep less than average hours have higher levels of inflammation-related proteins in their blood.

The underlying issue can be chronic stress or disease, or even both.

Shift work aids in the increase of inflammation in the body.

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Inflammation of the lungs can cause fluid accumulation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe.

Infections, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary are caused by inflammation in the lungs.