Chronic Inflammation is defined by a medical definition as persistent, long-standing, intense, and ongoing inflammation of an organ or tissue. This inflammation is believed to result from an overreaction by the immune system to normal body processes. The definition also includes inflammation that does not respond to medication and conventional treatments.
The medical community considers chronic inflammation to be a disorder that needs management and control. In addition, researchers have linked chronic inflammation to diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative colitis, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis (MS) in humans. In most cases, low-grade inflammation is the result of immunological abnormalities, whereas high-grade inflammation is due to more complex causes such as bacterial infections, allergic reactions, cigarette smoke, drugs, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, androgenetic causes, among others. For example, patients with a form of multiple sclerosis that is characterized by deposits of interleukin-10 within the myelin sheath are considered to have low-grade inflammation.
Besides the obvious negative health consequences of chronic inflammation, there are more subtle symptoms that can occur in conjunction with this condition. Pro-inflammatory cytokines and pro-thrombotic pro-inflammatory factors inhibit the functions of the immune system. These factors can lead to autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and hepatitis. These autoimmune disorders may further compromise the health of those who suffer from chronic inflammation. Several of these chronic inflammatory diseases can affect the kidneys, cardiovascular systems, and nervous system.
Due to the complications related to chronic inflammation, people with this illness are often diagnosed at an early age. This means that they have more severe conditions when it comes to complications like heart disease, stroke, or peripheral arterial wall disorder. Chronic Inflammation and Pro-inflammation disorders have been linked to different kinds of cancer. Therefore, people who experience frequent inflammation may be at risk for developing certain types of cancer.
When a patient has chronic inflammation, macrophages (a type of white blood cell) appear at the site of irritation. Macrophages are part of the body’s defense system that clears out invading organisms and foreign bodies from the bloodstream. Macrophages can also help repair damaged tissues. If the macrophages fail to do so, the body can suffer damage that eventually leads to death. It has also been seen that some of these macrophages remain at the site of injury, increasing the risks of bacterial infection, internal bleeding, and other complications like internal antigens or toxins.
Studies show that people with chronic inflammation have higher levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), which is responsible for the activation of inflammatory mediators, more than those with acute inflammation. TNF may cause additional damage to the macrophages and other cells, making them prone to infections and other disorders. The result of this process has been seen in a number of conditions like sepsis, persistent pulmonary syndrome, and allergic rhinitis.
There are a number of theories on how Chronic Inflammation affects the health of patients. For example, researchers have found that the effects of chronic inflammation could lead to the development of autoimmune disorders. These disorders affect the body’s natural defenses, increasing the risk for infection. Another theory suggests that people with long-term exposure to chemicals and pollutants have greater chances of developing chronic inflammation. Studies also suggest that long-term exposure to chemicals and pollutants may cause systemic immune dysfunction, resulting to autoimmune disorders. These autoimmune disorders could later lead to the development of cancer.
The common symptoms of these diseases include chronic irritation, swelling, redness, itching, fever, and loss of appetite. Patients can be diagnosed with Chronic Inflammation if they have suffered from any of these symptoms for at least six months. The disease can be life-threatening, causing hospital admissions. However, there are several treatment options available for patients suffering from Chronic Inflammation. A combination of prescription medications and lifestyle changes such as cessation of smoking and weight loss have been found to be very effective. In addition, doctors often recommend nutritional supplements and vitamins, which could help boost the immune system and prevent the occurrence of further illness.