Inflammation: signs and symptoms

How do you recognize inflammation? Typical symptoms usually appear, including pain, redness or swelling. Here are some other signs of inflammation.

5 signs of inflammation

The 5 signs that are typical of an inflammatory process are:

  1. Rötung (lat. rubor)
  2. swelling (lat. tumor)
  3. Heat (lat. calor)
  4. burning pain (lat. dolor)
  5. disturbed functions (Functio laesa)

General, non-specific signs of inflammation such as  fever  can also occur.

redness and heat

Various reactions take place in the area of ​​inflammation. Chemical signals release messenger substances such as histamine, which lead to the dilation of the blood vessels and thus to reddening. The intensified blood flow to the diseased area also makes it appear warmer. At the same time, the pores of the capillaries and blood plasma widen and  white blood cells  (leukocytes) can escape.

The main task of the leukocytes is to defend against pathogens. The doctor can use the leukocyte count to determine relatively easily whether an inflammation is smoldering somewhere in the body: he takes some blood and counts the leukocytes. If their number is high, an inflammatory focus has formed somewhere in the body. A differential blood count (white blood cells are divided into subtypes, each of which has a specific job) determines the percentage of certain types of white blood cells to help diagnose a disease.

swelling and pain

Together with the tissue fluid, the white blood cells produce swelling. It presses on the finest nerve endings, causing pain. With some inflammations, such as activated  arthrosis , the connective tissue (fibrin) also swells and multiplies when the arthrosis has become chronic.

Swelling and pain combine to limit function, such as mobility in an inflamed joint. If the inflammation subsides quickly, the typical symptoms of inflammation will soon recede.


Everyone knows that fever is a sign of the body’s defense reaction and is actually a very good thing. If the body temperature increases, this signals that the organism is activating its own defense mechanisms. Fever can help the body fight inflammation. Even a rise of one degree – from 37 to 38 degrees Celsius – can inhibit the multiplication of pathogens. Fever is therefore an important mechanism of the body in the fight against pathogens, toxins, etc.



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