General Practice 2022

Inflamação: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Inflamação: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Inflamação: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Inflammation is a natural response of the body that happens when the organism is faced with an infection by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses or parasites, poison or when there is an injury by heat, radiation or trauma. In these situations, the body initiates the inflammatory response that aims to eliminate the cause of the injury, eliminate dead cells and damaged tissues, as well as start their repair.

Inflammation can happen in different parts of the body, such as the ear, intestines, gums, throat or uterus, for example. In addition, it can be acute or chronic, depending on the duration of the symptoms, which can last from minutes to hours and even years, as is the case with arthritis or lupus.

Inflammation symptoms

The main signs and symptoms that may indicate an inflammatory process are:

  • Swelling or edema;
  • Pain when touching;
  • Redness or flushing;
  • Feeling hot;
  • Decreased movement or function of the affected region.

Depending on the cause and severity of the inflammation, it may be necessary to go to the emergency department or hospital for the doctor to identify the causes and start the most appropriate treatment.

Main causes

Inflammation can have several causes, the main ones being:

  • Infection by bacteria, viruses or fungi;
  • Sprains or fractures;
  • Exposure to radiation or heat;
  • Allergic diseases;
  • Acute diseases such as dermatitis, cystitis and bronchitis;
  • Chronic diseases such as lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis, for example.

When the body is exposed to any of these situations, the immune system is activated and starts releasing pro and anti-inflammatory cells and substances that act directly on the inflammatory response and promote the body's recovery. Thus, substances such as histamine or bradykinin are released, which act by dilating blood vessels and allowing an increase in blood supply to the injury site.

In addition, the process known as chemotaxis begins, in which blood cells, such as neutrophils and macrophages, are attracted to the lesion site to fight the agents causing inflammation and control possible bleeding.

What is the difference between acute and chronic inflammation

The difference between acute and chronic inflammation is the intensity of the symptoms experienced and the time they take to appear, as well as the time it takes for the inflammation to heal.

In acute inflammation, the typical signs and symptoms of inflammation are present, such as heat, redness, swelling and pain, which last a short time, such as tonsillitis and otitis.

On the other hand, in chronic inflammation the symptoms are not very specific and often take a long time to appear and disappear, and can last more than 3 months, as is the case with rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis, for example.

How the treatment is done

Treatment of inflammation should be done according to the doctor's recommendation, because different medications may be indicated depending on the cause of the inflammation. In general, treatment for inflammation can be done with:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: such as Ibuprofen, Acetylsalicylic Acid or Naproxen, which are generally used to treat simpler inflammations such as sore throat or earache for example;
  • Corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drugs: such as Prednisolone or Prednisone, which are generally used only in cases of more severe or chronic inflammation such as psoriasis or some chronic candidiasis.

The action of anti-inflammatories helps to reduce discomfort and the effects of inflammation in the body, reducing the pain, swelling and redness felt.

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