There are many different diseases and conditions that can cause inflammation in various parts of the body. Some of these are temporary. Others are long-term conditions that can cause other health conditions. Whether you suffer from a long-term or short-term inflammatory condition, however, you know how painful it can be.
Inflammatory diseases are diseases where the body’s natural immune response becomes overactive. This causes excess amounts of inflammation and discomfort. It can also lead to other long-term health problems.
With inflammatory diseases, the body targets its own cells. This causes too much swelling. Also, it can even cause damage to skin, muscles, bones, or organs in the long term.
Depending on the place where inflammation is in the body, people may experience a variety of symptoms. They might feel like they have the flu, with headache, body aches and chills, and joint and muscle stiffness. Or they may find it difficult to move the part of their body that is affected. They may have joint pain, swelling, and the area may become red or flushed.
Some inflammatory diseases can also have health effects on organs. This largely depends on two factors. Firstly, what kind of inflammation you experience and secondly, where it is in your body.
The answer to the question “What causes inflammation?” however, is not a simple one. This is because, simply, there are many conditions that can cause inflammation. These may be simple injuries such as sports injuries (for example, a torn Achilles tendon). Or, long-term chronic diseases like Crohn’s disease.
What Happens During Inflammatory Responses?
When acute inflammation occurs, several things happen. Your arteries will grow bigger as your body pumps more blood to the affected area. This is why swelling and redness can occur.
Your body also makes it easy for capillaries to retain fluid and protein, passing these from blood to other cells. It also emits white blood cells called neutrophils, which are filled with enzymes and other microorganisms. All these processes together result in inflammation.
What Are Inflammatory Diseases?
Inflammatory diseases are a category that encompasses many different conditions. These include diseases that affect the organs, like Crohn’s disease. But also, diseases that affect the limbs or joints, like rheumatoid arthritis. For chronic cases, these conditions may be what causes inflammation.
Some examples of chronic inflammatory diseases include:
- Peptic ulcers
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
However, there are many other conditions that can cause inflammation on a smaller level or short-term basis. These include:
- Colds and flu
What Else Causes Inflammation?
Illnesses are not the only things that can trigger an inflammatory response in your body. Injuries, even minor ones, can as well. For example, anything from an infected toenail to a scratch can cause inflammation.
Athletes, for example, are frequently victims of inflammation. High amounts of hard physical activity can cause an inflammatory response in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Many common sports injuries, such as tendonitis and torn hamstrings can also cause swelling. Physical trauma, even trauma that does not result in an actual injury, can also cause inflammation.
Marie is a 24-year-old dancer. She studies professional ballet, which means she is constantly training. She also has frequent performances. As a result, her tendons, muscles, and ligaments are under constant pressure. As can be expected, she often suffers from inflammation in her legs and feet. During times when it is mild, she experiences swelling and fluid retention. When it gets especially bad, Marie even experiences fevers, headaches, and fatigue.
One day, while on her way to a rehearsal, Marie gets into a minor car accident. She’s not severely hurt, so she’s surprised when she starts experiencing a similar inflammatory response in her neck. The physical trauma of the car accident has caused her to experience inflammation, just as her dance injuries do.
How to Treat Inflammation
There are many different ways to treat inflammation. However, treatments largely depend on the type of illness or injury is causing the inflammation. Also, where it is in the body, and how severe it is.
Mild cases of inflammation can be treated with over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen. These only have a short-term effect, though. For a few hours, they will help reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain. You can take up to 3,000 mg of acetaminophen a day. However, long-term use can lead to liver damage or even liver failure.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are also used to reduce the effects of inflammation. These drugs can either be prescription or over-the-counter, and they can either be taken orally or applied topically. There are many different kinds of NSAIDs used to treat inflammation. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac.
Unfortunately, many NSAIDs have significant side effects, especially when used over long periods of time. Long-term use of ibuprofen, for example, carries risks of stomach bleeding. Other types of NSAIDs can also cause heartburn, headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea.
Another option for treating inflammation is through the use of corticosteroids. These drugs are a synthetic version of the body’s natural hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a natural inflammation reducer. There are several ways to administer steroids. They can be taken orally, but this isn’t always as effective as a direct application. This can be done via injection into the site of the injury. Another way is via topical application through a steroid cream or patch.
So, Once You Know What Causes Inflammation, How Should You Treat It?
For her sports injuries, Marie uses over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen. But she’s not finding these helpful for the inflammation caused by her car accident. Then, her doctor recommends that she try a topical steroid application. In just a few weeks, Marie has full use of her neck again and no pain or swelling.
AgeForce offers the best in corticosteroid skin patches designed to treat inflammation. No matter what causes inflammation for you, you can find relief with our safe and effective patches. Contact us today to find out more about how to treat your inflammation.