What is chronic inflammation: a silent condition that can lead to serious illness?

International. Imagine that a swarm of mosquitoes are flying into your house, and you activate yourself to end this “threat”. Take a mosquito spray, spray a little and you will kill them for sure or they will leave. In this case, the spray did its job. But imagine that you keep spraying. There will come a time when something useful will turn against you. Something similar happens with inflammation.

When there is an infection, injury or toxins, usually something harmful that can harm your body, inflammation occurs as a process in your body to fight these ailments, as a self-healing mechanism.

In this process, the body releases chemicals, such as antibodies or proteins, and increases blood flow to the injured area, which triggers an immune system response.

This is what happens, for example, when we cut ourselves. The affected area immediately becomes inflamed, red and painful, and then gradually replaced by tissue until it heals.

And this, a quick, immediate and short-term response, is an example of good inflammation.

The goal is to protect the host, eliminate invading microorganisms that can be harmful, explains Dr. Diana Alexandru, director of the department of immunology and reproductive failure at IVI (Institute of Infertility, Spain).

Thus, by cooperation between the various cellular components, our system is prevented, for example, by fever, and the damaging factor is eliminated.

But just like with fly spray, overreacting with our immune system can be harmful.

Inflammation, which is so beneficial to the body, can also have a downside.

When your body is in constant turmoil

When the threat disappears, the inflammation must also stop.

But it may be that our immune system remains vigilant and therefore reacting to what it considers strange. It sort of continues to detect the presence of an intruder that is no longer there.

“It continues to draw attention to the immune system and continues to work against this tissue. This can happen to us, for example, in cardiac antigens in myocarditis. Then the inflammatory response changes from acute to chronic,” Alexandru says.

If we have chronic inflammation for a long time, it can be dangerous, as it is associated with the loss of function of many physiological and pathological processes.

Even if it is a sluggish, but constant chronic inflammation, that is, a slower and generally less severe form.

Uncontrolled chronic inflammation “will deregulate all bodily functions and lead to the development of all kinds of pathologies, chronic infections such as cancer, allergies and other processes such as asthma and autoimmunity,” says Lopez Hoyos.

Also, both specialists comment on pathologies such as abortion, placental rejection or failure of embryo implantation.

In 2018, the journal Nature published a study stating that more than 50% of all deaths in the world are due to diseases associated with inflammation: from coronary heart disease, that is, when the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle become blocked, to strokes, cancer , diabetes, autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases.

Source: BBC.

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