Inflammation is now understood as a cause, not just a symptom of many disease states.
“Regulated”, intermittent or short-term inflammation is the body’s healthy, natural response to stress and pathogens (e.g., infection, virus, bacteria, cellular and tissue damage). Its role is to assist in killing pathogens, protect the body against further injury, and facilitate the healing process. In a healthy person, once the immune system has cleared the infection or resolved the injury, the inflammatory response shuts off and normal functioning is returned.
“Dysregulated”, chronic inflammation or long-term inflammation is an unhealthy response and the primary contributing factor in a broad spectrum of diseases including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and neurodegenerative and other central nervous systems diseases, among others. It is estimated that approximately 5 to 7 percent of the Western population suffers from one or more chronic inflammatory diseases; many more have a disease condition made worse by chronic low-grade inflammation.
Despite billions of dollars in R&D spending over the past three decades, there still does not exist a safe and effective treatment for (dysregulated) inflammation-based disease, in part because key aspects of the inflammatory process were not well understood until relatively recently