Inflammation and Fever

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• Inflammation is an immune response that can occur anywhere in the body, but is observed most frequently on the skin. • It provides early protection by preventing infection from spreading to other parts of the body. • Inflammation also promotes repair of damaged tissues. Inflammation Inflammation occurs in three stages: 1. Histamine and complement proteins increase vasodilation and capillary permeability. Increased blood flow to the area accounts for redness, heat, and swelling. 2. Neutrophils and monocytes emigrate into area and remove microbes via phagocytosis. Pus, a collection of dead cells and fluid, often forms and lasts until the infection subsides. 3. Fibrinogen is transformed to thread-like fibrin-trapping platelets, forming a clot which helps reduce blood loss. Tissue repair proceeds with the addition of new cells to replace the damaged cells. Pyrexia is a rise in the body's core temperature, otherwise known as a fever. It is a mechanism developed by the immune system to reduce the severity of illness by preventing bacteria and viruses from multiplying. The body's temperature actually fluctuates throughout the day and in response to activity and sleep patterns. The usual culprits - those not related to bodily injury or disease - are exercise, eating, medication, menstrual cycle, hot weather and humidity. We have an internal thermostat called the hypothalamus, which is a small gland located in the brain. This gland functions as a part of the nervous system, sending signals out to the mechanisms that heat and cool the body. The hypothalamus responds to the presence of biochemical communicators called pyrogens, which are released into the bloodstream from injured body tissues or from the presence of disease-causing microorganisms. The pyrogens cause the hypothalamus to increase the body temperature. This works to lower the amount of bacteria and virus in the body, because the high temperature makes it difficult for them to multiply and replicate. The heating process acts by shunting blood away from the extremities to the internal core of the body. This induces shivering that also raises temperature. • Increased, above normal, body temperature. • Provoked by interleukins released during the phagocytosis of certain bacteria. • Fever near 100° F (38° C) can be beneficial in t fighting infection. • Causes viral-infected cells to produce more interferon, reducing spread of viral infection. • Denatures bacterial enzymes. • Speeds up mechanisms that repair tissue.

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