There is always marketing claiming a new product reduces inflammation, but inflammation is a natural biological process, and we need at least some of it to keep us safe. In this episode, Patrick explains the inflammatory response and why it’s necessary for our survival.
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From just living and being a human, you’re probably familiar with the five signs of inflammation firsthand: heat, redness, swelling, pain, and loss of function. And they range from mildly annoying to seriously debilitating but they actually serve a specific role in protecting you from further harm and kicking off the healing process. Contrary to what some may think, the increased heat is not there to try to bake the infectious agent. It’s there because the blood vessels around the inflamed body part expanded, bringing more blood to that area.
That’s also why the area gets more red. You’re passing more red blood cells through the inflamed tissue. Just like how your cheeks get warm and red when you blush — our blood is warm, and with more blood flow, we feel more heat. Along with more blood, the vessels that transport that blood expand and become more permeable, which fills that area with fluid and shows up externally as swelling. Pain comes from stimulation of pain receptors from the initial injury or from the inflammatory response itself.
Finally, the loss of function could come from either the increased swelling which reduces mobility, or from healthy tissue being replaced with less flexible scar tissue over time. And that’s only what we see from the outside. Our immune systems orchestrate all these different chemical messengers called cytokines.
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Understanding acute and chronic inflammation
“The right kind of inflammation is essential to your body’s healing system. But chronic inflammation can be a problem.”
Cytokine storms: When the body attacks itself
“When our immune systems mobilise, they can sometimes go into overdrive, triggering a destructive over-reaction called a cytokine storm. Why does it happen, and how can we stop it?”
Why You Should Pay Attention to Chronic Inflammation
“Many people think of inflammation in terms of external signs: swelling, bruising and so on. But in truth, uncontrolled inflammation plays a role in almost every major disease, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even depression.”
This Seeker health series will dive deep into the cellular structures, human systems, and overall anatomy that work together to keep our bodies going. Using the visual structure and quick pacing of Seeker’s Sick series, these human bio-focused episodes will give a new audience an inside look on what’s happening inside all of us.
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