Inflammation is a process by which your body’s white blood cells and the things they make protect you from infection from outside invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
But in some diseases, like arthritis, your body’s defence system — your immune system — triggers inflammation when there are no invaders to fight off. In these autoimmune diseases, your immune system acts as if regular tissues are infected or somehow unusual, causing damage.
Inflammation can be either short-lived (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). Acute inflammation goes away within hours or days. Chronic inflammation can last months or years, even after the first trigger is gone. Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include:
Inflammation and Arthritis
Some types of arthritis are the result of inflammation, such as:
What Are the Symptoms?
- A swollen joint that may be warm to the touch
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- A joint that doesn’t work as well as it should
Often, you’ll have only a few of these symptoms.
Inflammation may also cause flu-like symptoms, including:
What Causes Inflammation, and What Are Its Effects?
When inflammation happens, chemicals from your body’s white blood cells enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from invaders. This raises the blood flow to the area of injury or infection. It can cause redness and warmth. Some of the chemicals cause fluid to leak into your tissues, resulting in swelling. This protective process may trigger nerves and cause pain.
Higher numbers of white blood cells and the things they make inside your joints cause irritation, swelling of the joint lining, and loss of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones) over time.
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