5 Common Cardinal Signs of Inflammation

Anju Bisht

, Health A2Z


Do you know inflammation is the body’s self-protection process? In the process, the body attempts to remove harmful stimuli and begins the healing process. Where redness, pain, increased heat, swelling and sometimes loss of function are the 5 common cardinal signs of inflammation. Let’s take this discussion to further level to under every aspect.


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What Is Inflammation?


A biological process that the body uses to protect itself is called inflammation. Inflammation is a defense mechanism where the body protects itself from infections or infectious substances, such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation helps the body in producing white blood cells and other substances.


How Do We Classify Inflammation?


Inflammation is the part of the body’s immune response which can be acute or chronic. Where acute is short-term and chronic is long-lasting.


1. Acute Inflammation


In the case of acute inflammation, you might feel heat, warmth or fever in the inflamed region. Acute inflammation helps the body to attack the harmful stimuli and other foreign substances in the body. Once the body settles and heals, the inflammation eventually subsides.


Conditions that can cause acute inflammation include:


  • Acute bronchitis


  • Ingrown infected toenail



  • Cuts and scratches on the skin



  • Sinusitis



2. Chronic Inflammation


Contrarily, chronic inflammation can damage healthy tissues if the inflammation doesn’t settle. Another demerit is it can occur anywhere in the body. Most importantly, it can trigger any chronic diseases depending upon the affected area.


Conditions that cause chronic inflammation include:




  • Periodontitis condition, which makes gums and other supporting teeth structures inflamed.


  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causes chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.


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What Are The Cardinal Signs of Inflammation?


As discussed, below are the 5 cardinal signs of inflammation with their Latin names.


1. Pain (Dolor)


Due to inflammation, joints and muscles might feel pain. In the case of chronic inflammation, one might experience severe pain, sensitivity, and stiffness. In particular, the inflamed areas may be sensitive to touch.


2. Heat (Calor)


One must have felt warmth in the inflamed area of the body, especially people with an arthritic condition. It is because due to inflammation, there is more blood flow to the area. when someone has an illness or infection, it might cause fever, as a result, of an inflammatory response.


3. Redness (Rubor)


As the blood flow more to the inflamed area, the blood vessels of the area will be filled with more blood than normal. Due to which the inflamed area will appear red in the color.


4. Swelling (tumor)


When a part of the body is inflamed, swelling can be very common. The primary cause of swelling is accumulated fluid in the tissues or outside the blood vessel either in a particular area or throughout the body.


5. Loss of function (functio laesa)


The fifth sign- you might have a loss of function in the inflamed region. The immobility may result from the pain that restrains movement or from severe swelling that keeps the movement in the area.




Besides 5 cardinal Signs of Inflammation, some additional signs and symptoms include a general feeling of sickness and exhaustion. Illness caused inflammation can lead to serious complications like sepsis.


Sepsis happens as a result of the overwhelming response of the body’s immune system to a serious infection that can cause life-threatening tissue damage.


Conclusively, there is nothing to worry about inflammation as it is a required healing process. But if the condition is chronic, consulting a doctor about the issue and getting the required treatment can prevent serious health problems.


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