Inflammation is a biological response, where vascular tissues in the body react to infection or injury. The basic purpose of inflammation is to eliminate the original cause of cell injury, clear out damaged tissue and begin tissue repair. The main symptoms of inflammation are pain, redness, heat, swelling and the loss of function in the area. Inflammation is not, however, an infection, although inflammation may often accompany an infection.
There are physical, biological, and chemical causes of infection. Physical causes include burns, frostbite or injury. Biological inflammations can be caused by infection, hypersensitivity or even stress. Chemical inflammations may result from chemical irritants, toxins, or even alcohol. Common types of inflammations include appendicitis, bursitis, cystitis, phlebitis, and tonsillitis. The suffix –itis generally refers to an inflammation.
Many human disorders have associated inflammations as well. Acne vulgaris, asthma, celiac disease, and even rheumatoid arthritis each have associated inflammations. Even hay fever, a common allergic reaction, has associated inflammation. In most minor cases, an inflammation will resolve on its own, as this is a natural bodily response. Larger inflammations associated with tissue destruction may result in fibrosis, or scarring. Occasionally, a pus-filled abscess may form. Persistent inflammation may lead to chronic inflammation, possibly forming a chronic wound.