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What Are The Five Classic Signs of Inflammation?

Reviewed on 7/2/2020

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation causes pain, warmth, redness, swelling, and lost of function. Controlling inflammatory response is key to treating many disease symptoms.
Inflammation causes pain, warmth, redness, swelling, and lost of function. Controlling inflammatory response is key to treating many disease symptoms.

Inflammation is an immune response of the body to an injury or infection. The inflammatory process triggers the production of white blood cells and other substances that help protect the body. This process increases blood flow to the affected areas, resulting in warmth, redness, swelling, and pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Inflammation?

There are five classic signs of inflammation, sometimes referred to by their Latin names:

  1. Pain (dolor)
  2. Heat (calor)
  3. Redness (rubor)
  4. Swelling (tumor)
  5. Loss of function (functio laesa)

Symptoms that may accompany inflammation include:

What Causes Inflammation?

Inflammation occurs when white blood cells and other substances are produced by the body to protect itself from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. This increases blood flow to an area, which results in warmth and redness. Some of the chemicals released also cause fluid to leak into surrounding tissues, resulting in swelling and pain. 

There are 2 types of inflammation: acute inflammation which lasts for a short time and goes away, and chronic inflammation which usually lasts more than six weeks. 

Examples of causes of acute inflammation include: 

Examples of causes of chronic inflammation include: 

How Is Inflammation Diagnosed?

Inflammation is diagnosed with a medical history and physical exam. 

Tests to diagnose inflammation include:

What Is the Treatment for Inflammation?

Some forms of inflammation may benefit from treatment with conservative measures and home remedies including:

  • Rest
  • Icing an injury
  • Compression or elevation of an injury
  • Physical therapy
  • Healthy diet 
    • Low fat and low added sugar
    • High fiber
    • Plant-based
    • Avoid foods that can trigger inflammation such as fried foods, sugary foods, processed foods, red meats, refined carbohydrates, shortening, and lard.

Medical treatment for inflammation depends on the cause and may include:

For some chronic inflammatory conditions, surgery may be indicated. 

How Do You Prevent Inflammation?

Inflammation may be prevented by:

  • A healthy diet, low in fat with plenty of fruits and vegetables 
  • Regular exercise 
  • Avoiding injury 
  • Cleaning cuts and scratches well when they occur
  • Not smoking
  • Managing stress
  • Limiting alcohol intake

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Reviewed on 7/2/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

Oregon State Health and Disease Information

National Institutes of Health
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