Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system.
Chronic inflammation happens when this response lingers, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Over time, chronic inflammation may have a negative impact on your tissues and organs. Some suggest that chronic inflammation could also play a role in a range of conditions, from cancer to asthma.
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One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects.
Many different things can cause inflammations. These are the most common:
Pathogens (germs) like bacteria, viruses or fungi
External injuries like scrapes or damage through foreign objects (for example a thorn in your finger)
Effects of chemicals or radiation
Diseases or medical conditions that cause inflammation often have a name ending in “-itis.” For example:
Cystitis: an inflammation of the bladder
Bronchitis: an inflammation of the bronchi
Otitis media: an inflammation of the middle ear
Dermatitis: a disease where the skin is inflamed
When an inflammation occurs in your body, many different immune system cells may be involved. They release various substances, known as inflammatory mediators. These include the hormones bradykinin and histamine. They cause the small blood vessels in the tissue to become wider (dilate), allowing more blood to reach the injured tissue. For this reason, inflamed areas turn red and feel hot.
There are many other conditions related to the condition. Some of the causes include an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system recognizes the normal component of the body as a foreign antigen, and attacks healthy tissue giving rise to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health.