Inflammation And How To Control It

October 10, 2014

Inflammation is the body’s response to cell damage.  A cell could be a muscle cell, a cell of ligament or tendon, of a nerve, or just a skin cell.  No matter what type of cell it is, a cell is like a water balloon.  When cell damage occurs, that water balloon bursts.  Chemicals inside the cell are released from the cell and permeate the tissue surrounding the cell.  Those chemicals cause the local blood vessels, called capillaries, to dilate or get larger, which allows more blood flow, therefore making the area look more red in color.  This also allows the vessels to become more porous to allow out the cells that fight off bacteria and viruses in the event that there is an infection, such as with a cut in the skin.  Serous fluid also leaves the blood vessels and that is what causes the swelling in the tissue.  Without the risk of bacteria or virus, then the dilation of the blood vessels is not that necessary, especially with the swelling that ensues and stunts the healing process.  When you put ice on that area, the cold causes the blood vessels to shrink, making them less porous and therefore not allowing the serous fluid to leave and reduces swelling.  Heat will make the blood vessels larger, and that can risk making the inflammation worse.  Medicines such as ibuprofen, counteract the chemical process that cause the inflammation.  This was very abbreviated, but I hope that it made sense and was interesting.

 

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