How Anti-Inflammatory Medications Work
Inflammation is a natural bodily response to protect itself, remove damaged cells and irritants, and to begin the healing process. It affects the body after an injury or exposure to contaminants like viruses or bacteria, and it is characterized by swelling, redness, warmth, and pain.
Here is how inflammation occurs in the body and what happens when anti-inflammatory medications are ingested.
Acute and Chronic Inflammation
Acute inflammation is a short-term condition that occurs after a specific event, such as a cut, sprained ankle, sore throat, or appendicitis. This is the type of inflammation that is natural and can actually be beneficial because it means that the body is trying to heal itself.
However, chronic inflammation is a long-term condition that is a symptom of diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammation can also be caused by peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, chronic sinusitis, and many other medical issues. Research shows that chronic inflammation can cause even more inflammation and lead to other life-threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer as well.
Foods That Impact Inflammation
Inflammation can also be caused by food allergies and sensitivity, an imbalance of fungi and bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, diet, and stress. There are certain foods that are notorious for making the body inflamed, including sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates.
However, there are other healthy foods that actually help to fight inflammation in the body. Diets rich in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fruits like strawberries and blueberries, olive oil, and tomatoes can help the body ward off the damaging effects of prolonged or chronic inflammation.
Inflammation and Headaches
Since sinusitis is caused by an inflammation of the sinuses, anti-inflammatory medications can be very effective in treating these types of headaches, for example. Inflammatory headaches are often symptoms of other underlying disorders and serve as early warning signs of another serious condition that has yet to be diagnosed.
How Anti-Inflammatory Painkillers Work
Anti-inflammatory painkillers aren’t just recommended for headaches, but also for sprains, arthritis, and other painful conditions. Aspirin, is an example of one anti-inflammatory painkiller that doesn’t require a prescription. These types of painkillers work by blocking the effect of enzymes that help make chemicals called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are involved in the process of producing pain and inflammation at the injury site, and by taking anti-inflammatories, symptoms of inflammation subside.
There are possible side effects associated with certain anti-inflammatory medications and drug interactions, so discuss treatment options with a doctor before starting a new inflammation treatment regimen. Anti-inflammatory medications should generally be used for acute inflammation rather than a long-term strategy for chronic conditions. Headache pain and inflammation always have a cause, which is why it’s important to understand the reasons behind one’s headaches and triggers that set them into motion.
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