About Inflammatory Disease

  • Inflammation is a natural process by which the body responds to foreign invaders 
    • White blood cells coordinate the inflammatory response to protect our body from the attack
    • Invaders include bacteria, viruses, or fungi, but can also include foreign objects (such as a splinter)
  • Signs of inflammation include redness, swelling, heat, pain, and loss of function
    • Notably, not all inflammatory responses/diseases show these signs
  • White blood cells release chemicals and proteins (a.k.a. cytokines) during an immune response to coordinate physiological activity
    • This causes the blood vessels to expand so more blood and white blood cells can flow to the injured tissue, which makes the tissue look red and swollen 
  • Inflammatory disease occurs when the normal inflammatory process is dysregulated and the immune system mounts an inflammatory response that causes damage to the body 
  • Inflammation is at the basis of and plays a key role in the progression of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, bone and musculoskeletal disease, metabolic disorder complications, cancer, and autoimmunity
  • Therefore, understanding the inflammatory mechanisms and developing ways to suppress the response could help treat a wide array of conditions
    • These anti-inflammatory treatments can come in the form of pharmacological drugs or health and wellness measures, including diet, nutraceutical therapy, psychological stress modification, or exercise
      • At The Inflammation Foundation, we are interested in researching all of these potential anti-inflammatory treatments and bringing them to you
  • Autoimmunity occurs when the body starts attacking its own healthy tissues and cells
    • These diseases are a particularly difficult group of inflammatory diseases to treat 
    • The immune system does not lose its way of recognizing foreign threats, but does mount an immune response against self-targets too, which results in inflammation 
  • Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are both examples of autoimmune diseases 
    • In lupus patients, the immune system produces antibodies and inflammation against many healthy tissue systems, which causes swelling, pain, and tissue damage
    • Rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the immune system attacks the synovium. The attack thickens the synovium destroying bone and cartilage in the joints