Health news 2024
What is inflammation?
Generally speaking, the term inflammation refers to all activities of the immune system that occur where the body is trying to fight off potential or real infections, clear toxic molecules or recover from physical injury. There are five classic physical signs of acute inflammation: heat, pain, redness, swelling and loss of function. Low-grade inflammation might not even produce noticeable symptoms, but the underlying cellular process is the same.
Take a bee sting, for example. The immune system is like a military unit with a wide range of tools in its arsenal. After sensing the toxins, bacteria and physical damage from the sting, the immune system deploys various types of immune cells to the site of the sting. These include T cells, B cells, macrophages and neutrophils, among other cells.
The B cells produce antibodies. Those antibodies can kill any bacteria in the wound and neutralize toxins from the sting. Macrophages and neutrophils engulf bacteria and destroy them. T cells don’t produce antibodies, but kill any virus-infected cell to prevent viral spread.
Additionally, these immune cells produce hundreds of types of molecules called cytokines – otherwise known as mediators – that help fight threats and repair harm to the body. But just like in a military attack, inflammation comes with collateral damage.
The mediators that help kill bacteria also kill some healthy cells. Other similar mediating molecules cause blood vessels to leak, leading to accumulation of fluid and influx of more immune cells.
This collateral damage is the reason you develop swelling, redness and pain around a bee sting or after getting a flu shot. Once the immune system clears an infection or foreign invader – whether the toxin in a bee sting or a chemical from the environment – different parts of the inflammatory response take over and help repair the damaged tissue.
After a few days, your body will neutralize the poison from the sting, eliminate any bacteria that got inside and heal any tissue that was harmed. ( yahoo.com)