What Is Inflammation in Your Body? How It's Measured and Treated
by Eric McLaughlin, M.D., M.P.H.
Doctors and health-care providers like to use big words. We go to school for many years just to learn these big words and, like children, we enjoy showing off.
Take “inflammation.” Not too long ago, when we said “inflammation,” we usually meant what happens when you get a cut or scrape. Swollen, red skin was “inflamed.” Your joints could be inflamed, too, if you had arthritis.
But now, we’re using “inflammation” all over the place. Studies in the news keep connecting it to about every common disease in the book—including heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Inflammation is both simple and complex—both good and bad. But there is something you can do about it. In fact, the solution is pretty simple. After learning what inflammation actually is, you’ll see why.
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Think of a skinned knee and the redness, swelling, pain and warmth that surround the scrape almost immediately. That’s inflammation—tissue’s reaction to injury. In this case, it’s good. Swelling creates a tight barrier, keeping bacteria out. The redness and warmth are from an increased blood supply, providing defense mechanisms like white blood cells. A basic role of isolating injury, destroying invaders and healing damaged tissue, inflammation is vital.
When you get inflammation inside your body, though, you can have issues. The problems start when it happens in a dangerous spot, such as the coronary arteries.
Read more: www.familydoctormag.com/heart-and-brain/12
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