The difference between acute and chronic inflammation is that acute inflammation is typically short, and chronic inflammation is persistent and long-lasting. Acute inflammation is said to have five major traits, including heat, swelling, and loss of function in the affected area. Chronic inflammation may have these characteristics, but they are often at a much lower level and may not be easily noticeable. Acute inflammation usually lasts a few days and clears up on its own. Chronic inflammation is often self-sustaining, may last weeks or years, and causes tissue damage over time.
Acute inflammation can be caused by a number of factors. Common causes include infection, burns, and any number of injuries, all of which damage tissue. The acute inflammatory response is an attempt to remove damaged or dead cells and any external matter that may have entered the tissue. This allows the body to begin to repair the affected tissue.
The five characteristics of acute inflammation are outward signs of the body’s defense and repair mechanisms. Dilated blood vessels cause redness and heat, but allow nutrients and specialized cells to enter the affected area. Local pain occurs because nerves are stimulated by the inflammatory response. Swelling, caused by fluid retention in the tissues, also stimulates the nerves and makes the area more sensitive. Although unpleasant, pain causes the individual to rest the affected area, which promotes healing.
Chronic inflammation is the fire behind many chronic pathologies. However, it does not have outward signs like a rash swelling. Because of this we must use various approaches to unmask the presence of chronic inflammation. By looking at foods we eat and our sensitivity to them, or toxic levels, lower levels of nutrients and markers of chronic inflammation we can find out how much inflammation is causing stress on our genetics and causing signs and symptoms to become worse. By doing our detective work early, we can prevent many conditions from even occuring in the first place. Listen to our show to find out how.