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A systemic inflammatory response occurs when the entire body gives an inflammatory response to a threat. An inflammatory response is one of the body’s defense mechanism against harmful agents or damage. When a harmful agent enters the body or the body is damaged, blood is increased to the affected area. The excess blood brings nutrient-laden fluids and white blood cells that are necessary to heal the damage or defeat the invasion. If the systemic response continues over a period of time, the body can start harming itself.
It is important to note that an inflammatory response is not always damaging. The purpose of an inflammatory response is to contain and control an infection or heal damage. Many times the body does this with no harmful effects to itself. Initial inflammatory responses are called acute inflammation. A prolonged response is called chronic inflammation, and can lead to the destruction of cells.
Systemic inflammatory response is an indication that something has gone wrong with the body. For instance, it is one of the indicators of cancer. Doctors can detect and measure the severity of the response by looking at the amount of c-reactive proteins present in the body. These proteins are produced in the liver as a response to inflammation. Therefore, in general, the more c-reactive proteins that are present in the body, the more severe the inflammatory response.
There are several symptoms that are related to systemic inflammatory response. These symptoms vary depending on the severity of the reaction. In mild cases, the person will have general tiredness and lethargy. Moderate cases will additionally see a change in temperature. Severe cases will have symptoms of shock, such as reduced blood pressure, increased pulse rate, and a change in alertness.
When the body has a systemic response even though there is no infection, it is called Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS). Criteria for SIRS include a heart rate of over 90 beats per minute, a body temperature less than 98.6 °F (36 °C) or more than 100.4 °F (38 °C). Criteria also include a white blood cell count of less than 4000 cells per mm3 or more than 12000 cells per mm 3, or less than 10% immature nuetrophils, a type of white blood cell. When there is a source of infection, the response is called septic. In either case, if the response continues unchecked, it could lead to the failure of one or more organs.
There are several causes for a systemic inflammatory response. Some include, trauma, complications of surgery, and burns. Systemic inflammatory response may also be caused by drug overdose or by an infection. In each of these cases the body is simply trying to rid itself of harmful agents or trying to heal itself. If the initial, mild inflammatory response is not effective in healing the damage or defeating the invader, the body will increase its attack until it does.
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