There is often a misconception that inflammation is the root cause of several diseases; however, inflammation is what helps boost the immune system to fight further infection and defend your body. Inflammation aids the body in healing; however, if triggered inflammation does not correctly ‘turn off’, it can lead to some serious chronic diseases. Inflammation comes in two types: acute and chronic inflammation.
The necessary inflammation helps the body fight bacteria, and once the body starts healing, the inflammation begins to subside as well. Usually, a slight fever or a sensation of warmth upon touching the infected area are the telltale signs that inflammation is fulfilling its designated responsibility.
When inflammation persists even after the body has healed, it can start attacking healthy cells, causing disruptions in bodily functions and resulting in chronic diseases. Examples of chronic inflammation conditions include eczema, asthma, and periodontitis.
Signs of Chronic Inflammation
Cytokines, cells secreted by immune cells, play a crucial role. During acute inflammation, cytokine production is triggered, attacking external bacteria and viruses to protect the body and aid cellular function. However, prolonged inflammation can cause cytokines to attack healthy cells, leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling in muscles and joints—tell-tale signs of systemic chronic inflammation.
Rashes often occur due to sensitivity to certain foods or conditions. When the immune system targets healthy body cells due to chronic inflammation, it can result in conditions such as skin irritation, eczema, and painful rashes. Seeking consultation with a doctor becomes essential in such cases.
Fever can indicate acute or chronic inflammation. While many associate fever with infection, the body raises its temperature to combat bacteria and viruses. With chronic inflammation, the body may experience continuous low-grade fever or fever flare-ups, leading to persistent exhaustion from the start of the day. An overactive immune system demands more energy, potentially causing fatigue due to inadequate sleep.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes act as the first line of defense against foreign particles. During an infection, lymph nodes swell, and as the infection subsides, so does the inflammation and lymph node swelling. Consistent swollen lymph nodes signal an overactive immune system.
If you experience persistent fever, swollen lymph nodes, and unusual exhaustion, it’s time to consult your medical provider to address these signs of chronic inflammation. Identifying the cause enables you to take preventive measures and regain a healthier you.