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Inflammatory Response: The Most Basic Explanation of Inflammation (with Dr. Pryor)

What is Inflammation? How Does Inflammation Work? What Does Inflammation Do?

Inflammation. I’m always talking about it, I’m always referencing it in videos, I’m always talking about interleukin-1, interleukin-3, C-reactive protein. I’m always talking about tumor necrosis factor, I’m always talking about intrinsic factor. I’m talking about all these crazy terms. A lot of times, I know you guys are probably just listening and it’s going in one ear and out the other. Today with me, I have my good friend Dr. Landon Pryor, who is a plastic surgeon. You might be thinking, “Where does a plastic surgeon come in with inflammation?” Well, I’ve always talked about that connection between bumping your knee or bumping your elbow and how that’s inflammation. Well, no better person to explain what’s happening in the world of inflammation on the surface of your body than someone that, quite frankly, cuts people open for a living.

Well, thank you for that introduction. That’s true, that is what I do. You’re the guru on inflammation. I think we even went to Starbucks one day and the guy behind the counter was like, “You’re the inflammation guy.”

I am kind of inflamed.

I’m not sure that’s what you want to be known as, but inflammation, contrary to what Thomas typically talks about, is not always a bad thing. You need inflammation. That’s how you heal from bumping your knee, that’s how you heal from a surgical injury or any kind of trauma. Inflammation’s bad when it gets out of control and your body’s causing systemic issues for no real medical necessity. All the things that you talk about that cause inflammation are making you feel sick and not promoting healing, they’re just causing damage in your body.

For instance, when Landon’s wrapping up a surgery and you’re going through the healing process, everything that is involved in actually healing that wound truly is inflammation at its very best. You think about that, that takes a lot of immune system energy, right? I mean, that’s [crosstalk 00:01:46]-

Yeah, I mean, inflammation, like the name implies, is the inflammatory cells in the immune system going to an area of injury to heal it. Without inflammation, you can’t heal. Surgery is a very specific type of injury to the body, and you need those inflammatory cells to be able to heal. When it goes unchecked, it can become pathologic.

Essentially, when you think about that, you think about the inflammation that’s occurring at the site of an injury or at the site of surgery, the same inflammatory cytokines, the same interleukins, the same actual macrophages, white blood cells, everything that’s going to heal that area, that same thing applies at the cellular level. We hear this term, “Chronic inflammation,” all the time. We hear people talk about inflammation. I, quite frankly, feel like it’s this ambiguous term that 95% of the population just hear and just know it’s bad, but they don’t ever really register what’s going on in the body.

Generally speaking, I go extremely in depth and scientific, but I wanted to take this video to really just articulate it in a very simple way so that you can share it with your friends and family and understand what’s happening at the cellular level. I mean, what kind of immune response, and you don’t have to go into detail, but I mean, healing from a wound like a surgery, that’s pretty taxing on the immune system in general, right? It takes a lot of energy from the body?

Of course. That’s why people are tired when they’re recovering from surgery. It’s a huge metabolic demand on the body to recover and to go through that recovery process.

Okay, so let’s take that as an example. Now think about the amount of macrophages, which are white blood cells. Macrophages is a fancy way of saying … also known as … they’re called big eater cells. The reason they’re called big eater cells is because they go around and they eat up bacteria, they go around and they eat up different parts of cellular waste and everything like that. They’re called big eater cells, so when I say macrophages, that’s what I mean. These macrophages are really just isolated at that source. What we don’t always realize is that those macrophages are triggered in different responses in the body too. When we talk about cellular inflammation, we’re talking about the same kind of trauma that’s happening on the surface of the skin and through the connective tissue and through the muscle. That’s actually happening to a cell. Now, it’s not necessarily getting cut open, but it’s becoming so damaged that the same inflammation that has to heal that wound is having to heal your cells or having to process waste.

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