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Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

After physical injury, or in certain conditions, inflammation is a normal, healthy response. Think of the redness, warmth, swelling and pain around tissues and joints that happens after an injury like a fall. This is called acute inflammation. Most often, it resolves on its own as the body heals.

However, inflammatory disorders can result in the immune system attacking the body’s own cells or tissues, causing abnormal inflammation which results in chronic pain, redness, swelling, stiffness, and damage to normal tissues.

The Impact of Chronic Inflammatory Diseases (CIDs)
There are many conditions included in the umbrella term of Chronic Inflammatory Diseases (CID), including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and hidradenitis suppurativa, among others.

Millions of Canadians suffer from various CIDs and CIDs are the most significant cause of death worldwide. Likewise, CIDs can result in life-long debilitating illness, increased mortality and high costs for therapy and care.

Children are Impacted Too
Pediatric chronic inflammatory diseases can affect children of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. Children with CIDs such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, may experience complications such as growth failure, school absence, and depression.

The prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in Canadian children has risen more than 50 per cent in the last 10 years, currently more than 7,000 Canadian children under the age of 18 are living with IBD.

Likewise, it is estimated that as many as 24,000 Canadian children and teens live with a form of arthritis, another CID. The symptoms of arthritis can also make it hard for children to do everyday things like walking, playing and attending school.

Diagnosing and Managing CIDs
The only way to detect chronic inflammation and to confirm a diagnosis is to have an evaluation by a doctor who will perform a physical exam and blood tests.

The good news is that once diagnosed, chronic inflammatory disease can often be managed with proper diet, exercise and/or therapies.

Other Science Dispatch articles you might enjoy can be found here:

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Biosimilars: Expanding Therapeutic Options for Canadians

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