WebMD explains what inflammation is and how it affects your body. Sep 13, WebMD explains inflammation, a process by which the body's immune system malfunctions. Find out how it is associated with arthritis and. Oct 19, Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system's response to injury and infection. It is the body's way of signaling the immune system to heal.
Inflammation What is
These include healing and repair, suppuration, and chronic inflammation. The outcome depends on the type of tissue involved and the amount of tissue destruction that has occurred, which are in turn related to the cause of the injury. Different types of cells vary in their ability to regenerate. Some cells, such as epithelial cells, regenerate easily, whereas others, such as liver cells, do not normally proliferate but can be stimulated to do so after damage has occurred.
Still other types of cells are incapable of regeneration. For regeneration to be successful, it is also necessary that the structure of the tissue be simple enough to reconstruct.
For example, uncomplicated structures such as the flat surface of the skin are easy to rebuild, but the complex architecture of a gland is not. In some cases, the failure to replicate the original framework of an organ can lead to disease.
This is the case in cirrhosis of the liver, in which regeneration of damaged tissue results in the construction of abnormal structures that can lead to hemorrhaging and death. Repair, which occurs when tissue damage is substantial or the normal tissue architecture cannot be regenerated successfully, results in the formation of a fibrous scar.
Through the repair process, endothelial cells give rise to new blood vessels, and cells called fibroblasts grow to form a loose framework of connective tissue.
This delicate vascularized connective tissue is called granulation tissue. It derives its name from the small red granular areas that are seen in healing tissue e. As repair progresses, new blood vessels establish blood circulation in the healing area, and fibroblasts produce collagen that imparts mechanical strength to the growing tissue. Eventually a scar consisting almost completely of densely packed collagen is formed.
The volume of scar tissue is usually less than that of the tissue it replaces, which can cause an organ to contract and become distorted. For example, scarring of the intestines can cause the tubular structure to become obstructed through narrowing.
The most dramatic cases of scarring occur in response to severe burns or trauma. The process of pus formation, called suppuration, occurs when the agent that provoked the inflammation is difficult to eliminate. Pus is a viscous liquid that consists mostly of dead and dying neutrophils and bacteria, cellular debris, and fluid leaked from blood vessels.
The most common cause of suppuration is infection with the pyogenic pus-producing bacteria, such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Once pus begins to collect in a tissue, it becomes surrounded by a membrane, giving rise to a structure called an abscess. Because an abscess is virtually inaccessible to antibodies and antibiotics, it is very difficult to treat.
Sometimes a surgical incision is necessary to drain and eliminate it. Some abscesses, such as boils, can burst of their own accord. The abscess cavity then collapses, and the tissue is replaced through the process of repair. If the agent causing an inflammation cannot be eliminated, or if there is some interference with the healing process, an acute inflammatory response may progress to the chronic stage.
Repeated episodes of acute inflammation also can give rise to chronic inflammation. In some cases, chronic inflammation is not a sequel to acute inflammation but an independent response. Some of the most common and disabling human diseases, such as tuberculosis , rheumatoid arthritis , and chronic lung disease, are characterized by this type of inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can be brought about by infectious organisms that are able to resist host defenses and persist in tissues for an extended period. These organisms include Mycobacterium tuberculosis the causative agent of tuberculosis , fungi, protozoa, and metazoal parasites. Other inflammatory agents are materials foreign to the body that cannot be removed by phagocytosis or enzymatic breakdown.
These include substances that can be inhaled, such as silica dust, and materials that can gain entry to wounds, such as metal or wood splinters. In autoimmune reactions the stimulus to chronic inflammation is a normal component of the body to which the immune system has become sensitized. Autoimmune reactions give rise to chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The hallmark of chronic inflammation is the infiltration of the tissue site by macrophages , lymphocytes , and plasma cells mature antibody-producing B lymphocytes. These cells are recruited from the circulation by the steady release of chemotactic factors.
Macrophages are the principal cells involved in chronic inflammation and produce many effects that contribute to the progression of tissue damage and to consequent functional impairment. Granulomatous inflammation is a distinct type of chronic inflammation. It is marked by the formation of granulomas , which are small collections of modified macrophages called epithelioid cells and are usually surrounded by lymphocytes. Granulomas often contain giant, or Langhans, cells that form from the coalescence of epithelioid cells.
A classic example of granulomatous inflammation is tuberculosis, and the granulomas formed are called tubercles. Granulomas also typically arise from fungal infections, and they are present in schistosomiasis , syphilis , and rheumatoid arthritis. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval.
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Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. How Is Inflammation Involved in Swelling? Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Inflammatory disorders of the esophagus result from a variety of causes, from the ingestion of noxious materials, the lodgment of foreign bodies, to a complex of events associated with reflux of gastric contents from the stomach into the lower esophagus.
Inflammation resulting from surface injury…. The first, or inflammatory, phase occurs in the first 24 hours when platelets form a plug by adhering to the collagen exposed by damage to blood vessels. Fibrin joins the platelets to form a clot, and white blood cells invade the area to remove contamination by foreign material. Bronchiolitis probably occurs to some extent in acute viral disorders, particularly in children between the ages of one and two years, and particularly in infections with respiratory syncytial virus.
In some cases the inflammation may be severe enough to threaten…. The signs of inflammation include pain, swelling, redness, and fever, which are induced by chemicals released by macrophages. These substances promote blood flow to the area, increase the permeability of capillaries, and induce coagulation. The increased blood flow is responsible for redness, and the leakiness of the capillaries….
The chronic inflammation of the lid margins known as blepharitis is a common and potentially distressing condition. The inflammation may be mild, causing simple redness of the lid margin with scaling of the skin, or it may be severe, causing intense irritation and burning along with eyelash….
More About Inflammation 30 references found in Britannica articles Assorted References release of histamine In histamine treatment with cryotherapy In cryotherapy effect on animals In animal disease: Characteristics of inflammatory reactions esophagus In digestive system disease: Inflammatory disorders nasal polyps In nasal polyp In nosebleed function in disease In human disease: The inflammatory response immune system In immune system: Inflammatory response role of basophils In basophil complement system In complement View More.
National Center for Biotechnology Information - What is an inflammation? Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your feedback. Introduction Causes Signs The acute inflammatory response Vascular changes Cellular changes Chemical mediators of inflammation Events following acute inflammation Healing and repair Suppuration Chronic inflammation.
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Internet URLs are the best. Thank You for Your Contribution! There was a problem with your submission. When we consume them, our body identifies them as things that need to be removed. The inflammation cascade is then triggered. It ensures that your immune system is healthy and functioning properly.
Chronic inflammation happens when your immune system is basically turned on all of the time. This constant stress on the cells and tissues of your body can lead to any number of disease states. There are various causes of chronic inflammation…and many can be attributed to our modern lifestyle.
Things like smoking, drinking, obesity, increased stress levels, and increased sugar consumption all can lead to this inflamed state. Many people could be experiencing chronic inflammation and be totally unaware of it. There are a few signs that your body may be inflamed. These include things like:.
The Paleo diet is a great way to battle chronic inflammation because it eliminates many common food offenders such as sugar, refined flours, gluten, dairy, and soy. People experience increased energy, weight loss, clearer skin, stable blood sugar, and improved digestion while following a whole foods based diet like Paleo.
Incorporating antioxidant-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, will also help tone down the inflammation in your body. Traditional healing foods, like bone broth, should also be consumed when possible. Self-care and stress-relief techniques should also not be understated.
We all carry around loads of stress and it takes a major toll on our body. Ensuring that we take care of our mental well-being is just as important as our physical well-being.
Nov 24, Inflammation indicates that the body is fighting something harmful and trying to heal itself. It can be short-term and acute or longer-term and. Nov 23, When a wound swells up, turns red and hurts, it may be a sign of inflammation. Very generally speaking, inflammation is the body's immune. Oct 2, Learn how inflammation, the natural defense mechanism of the body to protect against foreign invaders or injury, can become chronic in some.