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Causes and Signs of the Inflammatory Response

  • 09
    By Katherine Kozlowski, Medical Author and Contributor to Vein News and VeinsVeinsVeins.com


    Inflammation is the body’s defense against injury or infection. Acute inflammation occurs within the first two weeks of infection or injury, subacute inflammation is classified between 2-6 weeks, and chronic inflammatory responses last more than 6 weeks.

    We educate physician assistant students, nursing students and other trainees at our center and we oftne emphasize the importance of recording signs of inflammation in the body. 



    There are five fundamental signs of inflammation.


    1. Calor = heat
    2. Rubor = redness
    3. Tumor = swelling
    4. Dolor = pain
    5. Functio Laesa = loss of function



    Causes of Inflammation:


    There are several classes of “inducers”, which is something that causes the initial immune response. Exogenous inducers arise from outside the body, while exogenous inducers arise from inside the body.


    1. Exogenous Microbial Inducers: Pathogens and Virulence factors, such as exotoxins produced by bacteria.
    2. Exogenous Non-Microbial Inducers: Allergens, Toxins, Irritants, or Foreign Bodies.
    3. Endogenous Infectious Factors: Bacteria, Viruses, other Microorganisms from inside the body.
    4. Endogenous Non-infectious Inducers: physical injuries (frostbite, burn, injury, chemical compounds) or signals released by cells that may be damaged in the body.


    Inflammatory responses are usually beneficial as they aim to protect against organism that may cause infection such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc. However, if the inflammatory response is unmediated, septic shock can occur.


    It is important to be aware of these signs and symptoms and to seek treatment if you have these inflammatory markers and suspect an infection.





    Hannoodee S, Nasruddin DN. Acute inflammatory response. StatPearls 2020.