Few medical phenomena have as wide-ranging effects as inflammation does. The sheer scale of medical conditions that either create inflammation or result from inflammation is staggering. As such, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with some of the core tenets so that you can understand the concept and how it impacts day-to-day life.
To help with this, we thought we’d run through some frequently asked questions when it comes to inflammation, which will hopefully shine some light on what we’re dealing with here.
What Is Inflammation?
Let’s start with the basics. Inflammation is a side-effect of your body’s immune system going to work. Whenever you are suffering from a condition of some kind, your body fights back by sending additional white blood cells to the injured area. The objective is to fight against any bacteria or viruses that are causing damage to your body. In its normal state, inflammation represents a completely natural defense mechanism that is an important piece of your body’s ability to repair itself. However, when it becomes chronic or overblown – that’s when you run into issues. So, make sure to get pain condition treatment in Perrysburg, Ohio.
What Is the Difference Between Acute Inflammation and Chronic Inflammation?
Acute inflammation refers to the immune response that occurs when your body receives sudden damage, such as a cut. This is immediate and typically short-term in nature, retreating when the injury has been sufficiently healed. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is when your body continues to send inflammatory cells even when there is no immediate danger. This is longer-term in nature and tends to lead to much more complicated medical problems. You may seek a chronic pain treatment.
How Do You Spot Inflammation Yourself?
The most common physical sign of inflammation is when a body part gets noticeably swollen. Additional signs include skin that is tender to the touch, discolorations (typically of the red variety), warmer than usual skin, or uncomfortable stiffness in a joint or something similar.
Inflammation can also come with fever-like symptoms in some circumstances – and typically this means that you should seek medical assistance immediately.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Inflammation?
While there is no specific test that can be used to diagnose inflammation, there are a range of common tests that are often good tools for identifying the more serious forms of inflammation. These include the following:
- Blood Tests:
- Serum protein electrophoresis
- C-reactive protein
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- Plasma viscosity
- Other Tests:
- Upper endoscopy
Note that when doctors are measuring these various levels, it’s not just about whether the numbers are in an abnormal range or not. They will look holistically at the patient’s health and make a judgment call based on a range of different factors.
Can Inflammation Cause More Problems than Pain?
Yes, it can, and that’s what makes it so insidious. It’s important to recognize that regular inflammation is often linked to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and others. While the causal link is difficult to untangle here, the truth is that prolonged inflammation points to internal problems – even when you aren’t experiencing any actual pain.
Inflammation also impacts our organs’ performance, which can create their own difficulties, divorced from any painful sensations that catch our immediate attention.
How Is Inflammation Typically Treated?
There is no one-size-fits-all here, but some of the more common treatment plans involve the following:
- RICE Method.
For most inflammation, following the RICE method of using rest, ice, compression, and elevation is typically enough to handle the acute inflammation that comes after an injury.
- Pain Relieving Medicines.
There are various over-the-counter pain medications that can provide relief and boost recovery outcomes significantly.
For more chronic conditions, diet often plays a major role in terms of inflammation. By reducing your intake of sugars, trans-fats, processed meat, alcohol, and others, you can drastically reduce your inflammation and enjoy better health as a result. In addition, adding more fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids provides valuable benefits as well.
Regular exercise not only stimulates your body, but it also helps your immune system regulate its functioning. This is invaluable when treating inflammation and helps create a much healthier internal system.
Certain vitamins and supplements can help reduce inflammation and improve your body’s ability to repair itself. These are typically combined with dietary changes to provide holistic improvements across the spectrum.
These are just some examples, but note that every treatment is going to differ depending on the circumstances.
When Should You Call a Doctor About Inflammation?
If you experience any form of injury that worries you, it’s never a bad idea to get it checked out by a medical professional. Caution is always encouraged when it comes to injuries of all kinds. In addition, if you experience ongoing pain, swelling, or stiffness that doesn’t seem to be receding, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor so they can help you identify the cause. The earlier you do this, the better the chances of a swift recovery. Visit a pain doctor in Toledo, Ohio.
For inflammation along the spine, a Comprehensive Centers for Pain Management physician can help reduce or eliminate inflammation while addressing the root of the problem.
Does Inflammation Increase My Risk of Developing Heart Disease?
Yes, it seems that way. Recent studies have shown that inflammation plays a key role in heart attacks and strokes. As two of the most common causes of death, this makes inflammation a crucially important component of health to optimize. Sustained levels of inflammation can promote the growth of plaques, loosen plaque in your arteries, and act as the trigger for blood clots of various types.
Does Smoking Increase Inflammation?
Yes. Regular smoking tends to damage your blood vessels and this creates additional inflammation as a result. It’s for this reason that doctors tend to encourage patients with high levels of inflammation to quit smoking and improve the quality of their diet in order to fight against the inflammation itself.
There you have it! Comprehensive Centers For Pain Management hears these questions a lot. So, we hope that having the answers laid out here will be a help to all those who need them. Inflammation is not something to take lightly, and we should strive to lead healthier lives so that we can keep it under control. The small habits we put into action every day make a big difference over the long term.