Difference Between Acute & Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is not a new word for most people, and one or two people we know or even ourselves suffer from different types of inflammation for various reasons. However, you can easily neglect it if you don’t know its signs and symptoms. Also, there are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic.

With all the information, what exactly does inflammation mean, common signs, and symptoms? And what is the difference between acute and chronic inflammation? We will go through all of those questions one by one. 

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to protect tissues from infection, damage, and disease. The inflammatory response starts with cells in sick, wounded, or diseased tissue producing and releasing chemical agents.

Furthermore, the five common signs of inflammation are redness, discomfort, heat, swelling, and the inability to function correctly. Take note that these signs don’t happen all at once. 

Additional signals are generated by inflamed tissues, which attract leukocytes to the site of inflammation. Leukocytes extract cellular debris from infected tissue and kill any ineffective or harmful agents.

Effects of Inflammation in your Body

Many different immune system cells may be involved when the body experiences inflammation. These cells are responsible for producing inflammatory mediators. 

Furthermore, the hormones bradykinin and histamine are among them. It widens (dilate) the tissue’s narrow blood vessels, allowing more blood to enter the damaged tissue. Inflamed areas become red and hot as a result of this.

More immune system cells are transported to the damaged tissue, where they aid in the healing process, thanks to the increased blood flow. Also, both of these hormones irritate nerves and trigger the brain to send pain signals.

Signs of Inflammation

Inflammation can be as evident as a swollen knee or bronchitis, but it can also occur on a much smaller scale within our bodies.

If you have watery eyes and a runny nose all of the time, don’t dismiss it as “allergies.” It might be a warning that you’re inflamed all the time. Allergies are also associated with the most visible signs of inflammation, such as swelling, redness, itching, and discomfort. It may be a symptom of chronic inflammation if you experience achy muscles or joints regularly. 

Furthermore, some inflammation symptoms include feeling tired all of the time or having general discomfort when you get out of bed in the morning. Also, several factors can cause fatigue, but it can also be a symptom of inflammation as the immune system works overtime to generate chemicals and antibodies.

What Is Acute Inflammation?

Acute inflammation is the body’s initial (short-term) reaction to noxious stimuli. When a wound becomes hot, swollen, hurts, and swells, we know inflammation is at work. In this case, inflammation is helpful since it immobilizes the injured region while the rest of the immune system works to repair it.

Despite the word “acute,” this form of inflammation may quickly become serious. Acute inflammation is often noticeable or palpable. You can treat acute inflammation with aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, which relieve pain and fever in patients.

Furthermore, people who suffer from acute inflammation may also experience potential side effects, such as swelling, pressure, and immobility. For some people, acute inflammation may occur as a common cold, bronchitis, joint pain, flu, and hives. 

What Is Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic inflammation is a long-term inflammatory response that can last months or years. Chronic inflammation, rather than being the solution to infection, injury, or disease, becomes the issue. Chronically inflamed tissues continue to produce signals that attract blood-borne leukocytes.

Furthermore, you can generally determine the degree and consequences of chronic inflammation by the cause of the injury and the body’s ability to heal and overcome the damage. For most, people may suffer brain fog, muscle ache, chronic fatigue, bloating, and discomfort. 

Also, you may develop heart disease, allergies, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, and even cancer when you experience chronic inflammation. It can occur when your body cannot remove a toxic substance or repair an injury, resulting in your body remaining in an inflammatory condition for months or even years.

Difference Between Acute Inflammation and Chronic Inflammation

To help you understand its differences, we will give you a narrow description as we contrast acute and chronic inflammation. It will help you know the difference between the two and the severity of each type of inflammation.

The damaged tissue releases chemicals known as cytokines during acute inflammation. It develops when tissue is damaged by microbial invasions, trauma, or toxic substance for acute inflammation. Immune cells, essential cell-signaling proteins known as cytokines, and other small molecules are all involved in the process of acute inflammation.

Furthermore, prostaglandins, which are hormone-like compounds, induce blood clots to repair damaged tissue and can cause discomfort and fever as part of the healing process. The acute inflammation gradually fades as the body recovers.

Chronic inflammation, unlike acute inflammation, may have long-term and whole-body consequences. In some viral infections and hypersensitivity reactions, chronic inflammation may be the only inflammatory response seen, mainly if the cause of inflammation is persistent. 

Chronic inflammation is also known as chronic, low-grade inflammation because it induces a low-level inflammation in the body, as measured by a slight increase in immune system markers in blood or tissue. This form of systemic inflammation can play a role in the progression of the disease.

Takeaway

It would be best to deal with inflammation, acute or chronic inflammation, in its early stages to avoid any severe consequences in the future. However, if we cannot prevent inflammation from happening, you have to make sure you know some preventive tips that you can use to alleviate the pain.

Furthermore, listening to your body and paying attention to what enhances or decreases the body’s inflammatory response is the best way to avoid or help resolve inflammation. Making subtle changes to your lifestyle would have a significant effect. 

If these things are not helpful somehow and you think it’s alarming, you can always pay a visit to a doctor to examine your condition.