Inflammation is the body’s normal response to injuries or infections. Inflammation comes from the Latin inflammare, to set on fire. It refers to the fact that in your body?s race to react to injuries and illness, common symptoms you will experience include:

  • Warmth
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain

We often hear the words infection and inflammation used together in discussions of the immune system, but they are each referring to very different things. Infection is the invasion and multiplication of a bacteria, virus, parasite or fungus. Inflammation is the body’s protective response against infection

Inflammation is a complex process involving various types of immune cells, clotting proteins and signaling molecules. As we have discussed in the first chapter, the immune system is like an army mobilizing a defense against an invader. Inflammation is part of that defense.

Normally, inflammation should disappear by itself after the irritant that triggered it has been removed or no longer affecting the body, and the body is adequately protected. However, if something goes wrong with the immune system and the inflammatory response, the inflammation can persist, leading the body to start attacking itself.

Studies have shown that the eosinophils and basophils, 2 kinds of white blood cells which we mentioned above, are frequently elevated in patients who have autoimmune disorders and inflammation.

Inflammation can affect every bodily system, and become chronic, or long-term. Chronic inflammation can lead to debilitating and even degenerative diseases, in which the person will become more ill over time if s/he does not take steps to reduce inflammation and live a healthier lifestyle.

Now that we understand inflammation in the body, let?s look at some of the main illnesses that have been linked to systemic inflammation..