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What is Inflammation?

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Inflammation is a natural and necessary process in our body. Inflammation helps us to heal from injuries and to fight off infections. It is the result of the activities of our immune system.

There are 4 classic signs of inflammation:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Pain

Inflammation occurs whenever your body is damaged – such as a cut, burn, or bruise. It has 3 phases. First, your blood vessels will dilate (get larger) so that more blood can reach the damaged area. Then your white blood cells come and clean up the damage and get rid of any microbes. Then, finally, your body works to repair the problem.

That is what is supposed to happen anyway. This inflammation is necessary so we wouldn’t want to get rid of it altogether. But sometimes there is inflammation when there is nothing wrong. In inflammatory arthritis, we have extra inflammation around our joints.

This extra inflammation causes the swelling and pain that we feel. It also, unfortunately, causes damage if left untreated. Let’s take a moment to be grateful that we live in a time where medications exist.

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