Cardinal signs are special for those who follow astrology. The same goes for doctors, who rely on major signs to help them make a diagnosis, such as inflammation.
Inflammation is your body’s response to infection. Five main signs characterize this response: pain, warmth, redness, swelling, and loss of function.
Not all five major signs are present in every case of inflammation. When the condition is really insidious, it can be silent and produce no symptoms at all.
This article describes two types of inflammation—acute and chronic—and details five main signs. It also discusses other signs and complications of the disease and treatment options.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a complex process involving multiple cellular and signaling proteins that protect the body from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation helps the body by producing white blood cells, which your body needs to fight infection.
Sometimes, the immune system inappropriately triggers an inflammatory response. This is the case with autoimmune diseases. The body compensates by attacking its own healthy tissues as if they were infected or abnormal.
When the inflammatory process begins, chemicals in white blood cells are released into the bloodstream and affected tissues to protect the body. These chemicals increase blood flow to infected or injured parts of the body, causing redness and warmth.
These chemicals can also cause fluid to seep into the tissue, causing swelling. This protective process can also stimulate nerves and tissues, causing pain.
3 Basic Reasons
The causes of inflammation are broad, but can be broadly divided into:
- Biological, such as infection, disease, and abnormal immune responses (including autoimmune diseases, atopy, allergies, and drug hypersensitivity)
- Chemicals, including poisons, toxins, and alcohol
- Physical, such as injury, burns, frostbite, or radiation exposure
Any type of inflammation can be acute or chronic.
Acute inflammation is short-term in nature, while chronic inflammation is long-lasting and potentially damaging.
Acute inflammation may include fever (sometimes from fever) or fever in the heated area.
Acute inflammation is a healthy and necessary function that helps the body attack bacteria and other foreign substances in the body. Once the body heals, the inflammation subsides.
Conditions that cause acute inflammation include:
- Acute bronchitis, which causes inflammation of the airways that carry air to the lungs
- Infected ingrown toenails
- flu-related sore throat
- Dermatitis, which describes a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, which causes a red, itchy rash on the curved areas of the skin, such as the elbows and behind the knees
- physical trauma
- Sinusitis, which can cause short-term inflammation of the nasal membranes and surrounding sinuses (usually the result of a viral infection)
- skin cuts and scratches
On the other hand, if chronic inflammation isn’t “turned off,” it may continue to attack healthy areas. It may not be as obvious as acute inflammation because it includes:
- Inflammatory arthritis, which includes a group of diseases characterized by joint and tissue inflammation (including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis)
- Asthma, which causes inflammation of the air passages that carry oxygen to the lungs. Inflammation causes these airways to narrow, making breathing difficult.
- Periodontitis, which causes inflammation of the gums and other structures that support teeth. It is caused by bacteria that trigger local inflammation.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
Difference Between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
The five main signs of inflammation are common and you should be able to spot them right away:
With both acute and chronic inflammation, pain is the result of inflammatory chemicals stimulating nerve endings, causing the affected area to feel more sensitive.
Inflammation can cause joint and muscle pain. When inflammation is chronic, a person experiences high pain sensitivity and stiffness. Inflamed areas may be sensitive to touch.
When inflamed areas of the body feel warm, it’s because there is more blood flow to those areas.
People with arthritis may have inflamed joints that are hot to the touch. However, the skin around these joints may not have the same warmth. When someone is sick or infected, systemic inflammation can cause a fever due to an inflammatory response.
Inflamed areas of the body may appear red because the blood vessels in the inflamed area are filled with more blood than usual.
Swelling is common when a part of the body becomes inflamed. It is caused by fluid build-up in the tissues of the whole body or affected area.
Swelling can occur without inflammation, especially in the case of an injury.
loss of function
Inflammation can lead to loss of function associated with injury and disease. For example, an inflamed joint may not move properly, or a respiratory infection may make breathing difficult.
The cause of all these symptoms is the same: cytokine Release into the bloodstream results in increased vascular permeability, or the ability of molecules to travel through blood vessels to reach tissues. Cytokines are molecules that encourage cells to communicate with each other. A healthy immune system depends on them.
How Pain Management Treats and Reduces Different Types of Disorders
Other signs and complications
When inflammation is severe, other signs and symptoms may result, including:
- general feeling unwell
Inflammation from the disease can lead to dangerous complications, including sepsis. This occurs when the body’s immune system overwhelms the response to a serious infection, which can lead to systemic, life-threatening tissue damage.
Identifying and treating the underlying cause of inflammation, whether it’s an infection or another problem, is critical.
In many cases, treatment includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids.
NSAIDs can reduce pain associated with inflammation. They also counteract the enzymes that cause inflammation to reduce these processes. Examples of NSAIDs are ibuprofen and naproxen, which are available without a prescription.
Sometimes, healthcare providers prescribe stronger NSAIDs for people with chronic inflammation. These include Mobic (meloxicam) and Celebrex (celecoxib).
Long-term use of NSAIDs is associated with gastric ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. Therefore, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before using an NSAID for more than 10 days.
NSAIDs may exacerbate certain conditions, including asthma and kidney problems. They also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Potent corticosteroid drug quickly suppresses inflammation
Corticosteroids are known for preventing inflammation. There are two different types of corticosteroids –Glucocorticoids and Mineralocorticoids:
- Glucocorticoids are used in conditions that produce inflammation, such as inflammatory arthritis, IBD, asthma, and allergic reactions. They come in pill form as well as injections and inhalers. Creams and ointments may be prescribed to control inflammation of the skin, eyes, and nose.
- Mineralocorticoids are often prescribed to people with adrenal insufficiency, which occurs when the adrenal glands cannot produce enough hormones.
Side effects of corticosteroids are more common when taken by mouth. Inhalers and injections can reduce side effects. Inhaling the drug can cause oral thrush (fungal infection), so it is important to rinse with water after use.
Other side effects may include:
- blurred vision
- easy bruising
- swelling of the face
- High blood pressure
- increased appetite and weight gain
- mood swings
- nervousness or restlessness
- stomach irritation
- water retention and swelling
Long-term corticosteroid use is associated with the following factors:
- Cushing’s syndrome, a disorder caused by exposure to corticosteroids. Symptoms include fat bumps between the shoulders, purple stretch marks, and a swollen face.
- heart disease
- osteoporosis, a type of osteoporosis
- ulcers and stomach bleeding
Major Signs in Astrology
In astrology, cardinal signs refer to new beginnings. This happens when the Sun moves into a new zodiacal element, making Aries, Cancer, Capricorn, and Libra the cardinal signs.
Inflammation occurs when your body fights an infection. You may experience pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function as it fights. Symptoms are common, but it’s still smart to understand the difference between acute and chronic inflammation. It may have an impact on how your particular case of inflammation is treated.
Inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process and is usually nothing to worry about. But when inflammation is chronic, it can be a serious health problem. Consult your healthcare provider to determine the source of inflammation. This is the first step in proper treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a normal biological response to any stimulus that could lead to bodily harm. The aim is to eliminate the cause of the damage and remove damaged cells so they can be replaced with healthy cells. It’s a complex process that can trigger symptoms that we easily identify as inflammation.
What is acute inflammation?
Acute inflammation occurs at the onset of an injury that lasts for several days. It involves two components:
- cellular component in which first-line white blood cells called leukocytes and macrophages are activated and recruited to the site of injury
- Vascular stage, where blood vessels dilate (open) and tissues expand to accommodate the rapid influx of immune cells and antimicrobial chemicals
What is chronic inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is inflammation that persists for months or years and is often the result of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, COPD or HIV. Over time, chronic inflammation can have serious consequences. It causes organ changes that increase the risk of heart attack, cancer and other age-related diseases.