Inflammation alteration to the normal structure within the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inflammation

Christina Rodriguez

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Gaston College

 

Abstract

The body is constantly changing; operating to ensure it is
in homeostasis. One of the most important functions in the body is its immune
system. The immune system is responsible for the inflammatory response when
foreign bodies enter the body or there is an alteration to the normal structure
within the body. The inflammatory response is composed of five stages; heat,
redness, swelling, pain, and loss of function.

 

Inflammatory Response

Overview

            The body’s immune system has the
ability to respond to trauma or pathogens by initiating the inflammatory
response. There are many reasons why inflammation may occur. It may be caused
by a pathogen entering the body like bacteria and fungus. It is also caused by
foreign objects entering the body like a splinter. The inflammation may also be
stimulated by exposure to irritants like chemicals. There are two types of
inflammation, acute and chronic. Although both are inflammatory response they
vary in onset and duration. There are five common signs of inflammation,
redness, swelling, heat, pain, and altered function. These signs are more
commonly seen in acute inflammation than chronic inflammation.

Acute
Inflammation

            In acute
inflammation, the body responds in a vascular way. Acute inflammation occurs
suddenly and last for a short amount of time, typically a few days. In the
beginning stages of acute inflammation, there is swelling which is related to
fluid buildup and redness due to the increase in blood flow. The increase in
blood flow is caused by the dilation of vessels at the injured location. An
increase in blood flow allows for oxygen to reach the damaged tissue and allows
for easier nutrient movement between cells and tissues. A well oxygenated
injured tissue is likely to heal quicker. If the injured tissue does not heal,
it can turn into an abscess. An abscess forms when the fluid, also known as
exudate, is trapped within the tissue and becomes injected. If left untreated
the infection will spread to surrounding tissue and even into the blood stream
causing sepsis. Along with abscess’, when acute inflammation is left untreated
it can turn into a chronic inflammation condition.

Chronic
Inflammation

            Unlike
acute inflammation, the body responds to chronic inflammation in a chemical
way. Chronic inflammation last longer than acute inflammation and occurs slowly.
It can last between weeks and months depending on where the inflammation is and
what is causing it. Tissue does not tend to have fluid or exudate. It tends to
be firm, slightly red in color, and nutrients like collagen are produced to
initiate tissue repair. Most chronic inflammation is due to autoimmune disease
or organisms that the body cannot fight off alone. It can also be cause by
being exposed to an irritant for prolonged periods such as tobacco smoke.
Chronic inflammation tends to cause fatigue and weakness. This is due to the
body using its energy to heal itself.

Advantages
and Disadvantages

            An
advantage to inflammation is that it helps the body heal itself and remove
pathogens from the body. Without inflammation the body would not be able to
repair itself. Inflammation also allows the body to rapidly send antigens to
the location due to increase in blood circulation. It also helps decrease the
spread of pathogens because the fibrin formation captures them.  A disadvantage of the inflammatory response in
the body is tissue damage. If the body is constantly attempting to heal an
injury or remove pathogens it begins to damage surrounding tissue by attacking
it as if it were an irritant. It may also cause pain due to the swelling of the
tissue tightening around nerve endings. Another disadvantage to the inflammatory
response is that it relies heavily on a person’s nutritional status, mental
health, and compliance with treatment. A major disadvantage to inflammation is
the misconception that it indicates infection in the tissue. Although new
swelling and exudate may be a sign of infection, it is the first sign of
healing as well.

Treatment

            There
are several ways to treat inflammation. It depends on if the inflammation needs
to be reduced or if pain management is the goal. Typically non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are taken to decrease
inflammation. NSAIDs do not allow or decrease the synthesis of prostaglandin
(Davis’ Drug Guide, 2017). Unfortunately, NSAIDs may cause other health
problems such as kidney damage (Davis’s Drug Guide, 2017). Steroidal hormones
may also be given to decrease inflammation. They work by decreasing the
inflammatory process. Steroidal treatment is typically safe and used frequently
with respiratory inflammatory conditions (Davis’ Drug Guide, 2017). If only
treating pain related to inflammation, an analgesic should be given. For
example, acetaminophen with not alter the inflammatory process but will reduce
the amount of pain from it. A strong medication like hydrocodone may be given
if not contraindicated in the patient (Davis’ Drug Guide, 2017). Inflammation
may also be reduced by changing ones diet. For example, eating blueberries and
oranges helps boost the immune system with their antioxidants. With a stronger
immune system, the duration of inflammation may be decreased.

Conclusion

            Though
inflammation may not be a comfortable trait to the healing process, it is one
of the most important factors in healing. Healing cannot take place without
inflammation. The increase in blood flow, nutrients and hormones entering and
exiting the cells, exudate excretion, and tissue regeneration all minimize the
risk of infection in the tissue and blood. Inflammation may be minimized with
medication or dietary changes. If inflammation process is desired but pain
management is needed medications that do not alter the inflammatory process may
be given.