Inflammation Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Inflammation is a response of the body’s immune system against an irritant. The body’s white blood cells and their produced substances are protecting the body from infection with foreign organisms like viruses and bacteria. 

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Some diseases cause the body to develop inflammation, although there are no foreign invaders. One of the best examples is arthritis. With this disease, which is referred to as autoimmune diseases, the protective immune system damages its tissues, and that is the reason why inflammation happens. The body sees that the tissues are infected, and they have to fight against them. 


What diseases are associated with inflammation?


Arthritis is used to describe the inflammation in the joints. Not all types of arthritis can show symptoms of misdirected inflammation. Below are the different types of arthritis that are associated with inflammation:


  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Gouty arthritis

Other conditions that are related to the joints and musculoskeletal system, which are not associated with inflammation are fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, muscular neck pain, and muscular low back pain.


What are the symptoms of inflammation?


Right here are the most common of symptoms that you need to know:


  • Pain – you will experience pain in the inflamed area, especially if you will touch it. The affected area is getting more sensitive because of the release of chemicals that stimulate nerve endings.
  • Redness – it is normal to see the inflamed are turned to red because the capillaries around it are filled with more blood.
  • Immobility – the inflamed area may cause immobility, or it can lose its function due to the condition.
  • Swelling – fluid builds up when inflammation happens, and that will result in swelling.
  • Heat – you will feel warm when you touch the inflamed area because there is an increased flow of blood around it.

A person who experiences inflammation may not experience all these signs.


Other symptoms of inflammation may be associated with general symptoms of flu. They include:


  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Loss of energy or fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Loss of appetite

Causes of Inflammation


Inflammation has various causes which are:


  • Untreated infection or injury. When your body has an infection or injury, leaving it without treatment can lead to inflammation. Inflammation is your body’s way to tell you that something is wrong, and you have to give it attention immediately.
  • Autoimmune disorder. Our immune system naturally attacks foreign organisms that may be harmful to the body. But if you have an autoimmune disorder, it means that your immune system is mistakingly attacking the healthy tissues of the body. When this happens, it will eventually lead to inflammation.
  • Long-term exposure to irritants. Chemical or polluted air can cause inflammation. So, if you know that irritants are present in your environment, excuse yourself and free your body from inflammation.

Some studies also show that the following factors can cause inflammation to the body:


  • obesity
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • chronic stress

Can inflammation affect internal organs?


Yes. Inflammation can affect your internal organs, and it is because of the autoimmune disorder. The signs and symptoms will depend on the affected organs. Some of the examples are:


  • Inflammation that affects the heart may show symptoms like fluid retention or shortness of breathing.
  • Inflammation that affects the small tubes that is responsible for transporting air to the lungs may show symptoms like shortness of breathing.
  • Inflammation that affects the kidney may show symptoms like kidney failure or high blood pressure.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cause Inflammation


A single test is not enough to diagnose inflammation and its possible causes. Your doctor will determine your symptoms, and based on them, he will let you take any of these tests to create a diagnosis. 


Blood tests – your blood sample will be sent to a medical laboratory and be studied under a microscope. There will be ‘markers’ to help with the diagnosis of inflammation. But these markers are known to be non-specific, which means the abnormal levels may show that there is something wrong, but it will not show the ‘what’ is wrong. 


Some of the tests that will involve your blood sample are:


  • Serum protein electrophoresis (SPE)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • Plasma viscosity

MRIs and X-Rays – depending on the location of inflammation, your doctor may recommend one or both of these imaging tests. For example, you are experiencing chronic diarrhea, or you feel numb on one side of your face. 


Aside from these tests, your doctor will determine your medical history and perform a physical exam that will focus on:


  1. The pattern of your painful joints and if there is a sign of inflammation
  2. The presence of stiffness on your joint in the morning
  3. The evaluation of the other symptoms

Treatment of Cause Inflammation


Inflammatory diseases can be treated in many ways. Some of them are medications, exercise, rest, and surgery, so the damaged joint can be corrected. The treatment that will be recommended by the doctor will depend on some factors such as the type of the disease, other medications of the patients, age, medical history, overall health, and the severity of symptoms. 


The goals of every treatment are the same, which are:


  • To control, slow down, or correct the cause of the disease
  • Modify or avoid the activities that may be causing the pain
  • Ease the pain using anti-inflammatory drugs or pain medications
  • Maintain the muscle strength and joint movement through physical therapy
  • Reduce the stress on the affected joints through splints, braces, or canes as needed

What drugs are used to treat inflammatory diseases?


Many drugs were used and prescribed to reduce swelling and inflammation, reduce joint pain, and prevent or minimize the progression of the condition. Doctors prescribed two or more medications since they have different effects. Some of the medications may include:


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Antimalarial medications 
  • Biologic drugs 
  • Other oral drugs are also known as DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs)

When you started taking any of these medications through a doctor’s prescription, you need to visit your doctor regularly so he can closely monitor your condition. Some of these medications may cause side-effects. Your doctor can detect any possible side-effects that are developing during the earlier stage, and he can modify your treatment immediately.


How does diet affect inflammation?


The foods that you eat can bring both negative and positive effects on your inflammatory disease. That’s why you need to know the foods that will help and will harm your body’s inflammation.


You should eat foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory properties. They are high in polyphenols and antioxidants. Some of them are:


  • Leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • olive oil
  • tomatoes
  • fatty fish like sardines, salmons, and mackerel
  • fruits like blueberries, cherries, and oranges
  • nuts

If your diet does not involve any of these foods, then you might consider modifying it and include any of those foods so you can minimize your risk of inflammation. 


While there are foods that can help you fight inflammation, there are also foods that can increase the condition. You must know the list of foods that can increase your risk of inflammation so you can avoid them:


  • refined carbohydrates like pastries and white bread
  • fried foods like french fries
  • red meat
  • processed meat like sausage and hot dogs

If you want to fight inflammation and reduce the risks, you should also reduce your intake of those foods mentioned above. There is no need to stop eating them since these foods are very common, and most people consume them. But as much as possible, minimize your intake and eat them occasionally.


What are the normal conditions of cause inflammation?


When your inflammatory disease continues to progress, the body’s inflammatory response can damage your healthy cells, tissues, and organs. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to tissue death, DNA damage, and internal scarring. These will link to the development of diseases such as:


  • Cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease

Risks of Having Cause Inflammation


A person is at high risk with inflammatory disease due to the following factors:


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Infection
  • Age
  • Obesity

When to Seek Medical Attention


When inflammation starts in any part of your body, you will not feel the need to see a doctor and ask for his opinion. But if you start feeling the following, it’s an obvious sign that you will need immediate medical attention:


  1. Shortness with breathing without knowing any reason
  2. Consistent pain on the affected area
  3. You cannot move your affected joints
  4. There is difficulty with moving and doing your regular activities

Inflammation can lead to other, more serious diseases if you continue to delay its treatment. When you can feel that the inflammation is progressing, seek the help of your doctor so you can get the right treatment for your condition. Your treatment may involve medications and supplements. It’s also advised that you eat an anti-inflammation diet to reduce your risk of inflammatory diseases. Along with your medications, you need to maintain a healthy weight, avoid alcohol and smoking, and reduce your stress level.