Inflammation – definition, types, causes and treatment

Inflammation definition

Inflammation is a supportive mechanism against tissue damage or infections. It stimulates the immune system to repair injured tissues and defense against diseases from foreign organisms. Sometimes inflammatory reactions lead to self-injury by provoking defensive action against the body’s cells or it may an exaggerated reaction to the less harmful antigen.

Injured or swell cells produce signal molecules known as cytokines to signal lymphocytes on site of injury. The cells function to eliminate infective antigen and cellular remains from injured tissue. This reaction is for the remedial purposes by body system. The inflammation has two types acute or chronic.

Types of inflammation

Image Source: Inside Out Health And Wellness.

Types of inflammation

Acute Inflammation

It is a shielding response by the body’s immune system after injury or infection. It is a rapid response described by redness, swelling (local edema), raised body temperature, and pain. Neutrophils move towards the injured site to phagocytize foreign particles or invading microbes.


Inflammatory symptoms include the following:

  • Blood vessels expand.
  • Higher blood flow
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Increased temperature
  • Joint stiffness or muscle stiffness
  • Sometimes these following symptoms are also identified for inflammation.
  • Loss of energy
  • Tiredness
  • Shivering
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite


Acute inflammation occurs due to injury, thus the treatment of acute inflammation is R.I.C.E therapy.

Rest: For speedy recovery safe injured or swollen part. A break from activities is necessary to avoid pain or further risk of damage.

Ice: Application of cold ice pack on the swollen area reduces pain and swelling.

Compression: Covering of damaged region helps in decreasing swelling and protect from infectious or opportunistic pathogens.

Elevation: The elevation of the injured part above the heart level helps in reducing inflammation.

Chronic Inflammation

It is a prolonged, consistent, and delayed inflammation reaction. The level and consequences of inflammation may different according to damage and the body’s capability to prevail with damage caused by inflammation. The sore cells constantly produce signaling molecules to draw lymphocytes from the bloodstream. And these cells enhance response and begin to destroy healthy tissues instead of fixing and curing. Diseases characterized by persistent tenderness such as diabetes, chronic bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, etc.


Its symptoms are listed below:

  • Body pain
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue and less sleep
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Infection rate higher


Inflammatory disease recognized by examination of symptoms and previous history of patients. For a complete analysis, joint swelling or stiffness and X-rays are more helpful for diagnosis.

Treatment with diet

Treatment of inflammation is the modification in lifestyle and dietary habits are helpful for minimizing inflammatory effects and stimulators of inflammation. The diet that helps in reducing inflammation includes low sugar content diet, fruits, and vegetables, less use of saturated and trans-fats, fiber, nuts, etc.

Treatment with exercise

Physical exercise utilizes body energy and reduction in weight to minimize the risk of inflammation triggers.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

A category of medicines that alleviate pain, fever, and minimize inflammation are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The list of medicine given below.


  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Meloxicam
  • Celecoxib
  • Indomethacin
  • Oxaprozin etc.


  • Prednisone,
  • Hydrocortisone,
  • Ethamethasoneb, etc.

Side effects

NSAIDs consider secure drugs if consume in low doses for a short duration. Side effects of NSAIDs are caused by a higher dose for a prolonged duration. The risk of cardiac arrest or stroke increased, and they also cause bleeding in the stomach. The common side effects observed are:

  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain or ulcer
  • Headache and tiredness
  • Allergic reactions
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver or kidney issues etc.

Consequences of prolonged inflammation

The inflammatory response have an auto controlled system that switches off inflammatory signals when the foreign antigen is removed from the body system. If this system fails to stop and signaling of stimulants continues it leads to chronic disease and ultimately causes self-destruction and killing of own cells. Inflammation is a major complicating factor in many diseases such as diabetes, cancer, depression, etc.

Plenty of inflammatory triggers found in our environment which keep the immune system charged for the attack. These simulators have a low level but constant exposure is said to be quiet but dangerous as complicating and additional factors for many diseases. These simulators include smoke, air impurities, different opportunistic pathogens, and sometimes stress also acts as a stimulator.

Inflammation Video Animations

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Reference and Sources


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