What is Systemic Inflammation?

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Chronic inflammation that lasts for days, months, or longer, can cause damage to many body tissues. For example, Crohn’s disease – a disorder involving severe abdominal pain and intestinal problems. Like Crohn’s, other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disease, arthritis, and even some forms of cancer, are the consequence of unchecked, ongoing inflammation.

Inflammation Gone Awry:

The intention of inflammation is certainly beneficent; however, the consequences of inflammation are not always predictable or desirable.

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When neutrophils and macrophages are digesting bacteria some of the free radicals and hydrolytic/proteolytic enzymes may leak from the phagosome causing local destruction of tissue and cells eg.

Pulmonary emphysema, osteoarthritis. Recruitment of inflammatory cells, secretion of growth factors may cause over- exuberant granulation tissue with subsequent scarring.

The inflammatory system may also be an unwitting accessory in processes such as fistula formation (eg. inflammatory bowel disease), atherosclerotic plaques, autoimmune diseases, immune hypersensitivity responses (eg. anaphylaxis, allergies), etc.

Since chronic inflammation can cause considerable damage to the tissues of the body, it can lead to a variety of problems. In many cases, inflammation can spread across the body. Hence chronic inflammation is a growing concern among health care professionals.

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Some of the diseases associated with inflammation are arthritis, type 1 diabetes, asthma, Crohn’s disease, colitis etc. Many of them are life threatening.

Crohn’s disease: Crohn’s disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is also called as “ileitis or enteritis”. Crohn’s disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but most commonly affects the ileum.

The swelling extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The swelling can cause pain and make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.

In Crohn’s disease, all layers of the intestine may be involved, and normal healthy bowel can be found between sections of diseased bowel.

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