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Inflammation and Infectious Diseases

Inflammation and Infectious Diseases

The Four Cardinal Signs of Inflammation

In the first century AD, the inflammation process was characterized by four cardinal signs described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a Roman healthcare writer. They include Pain (Latin dolour), redness (rubor), swelling (tumour), and heat (calor) (Gibbins, 2018). Loss of function (function less) of the inflamed site is the fifth result of inflammation, as stated by Rudolf Virchow, the German Pathologist in the nineteenth century.

Physiological Changes That Bring About These Signs

The pain (dolour) resulting from inflammation is partly caused by oedema-induced tissue distortion. Still, it is also caused by some chemical inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins, bradykinin, and serotonin, that induce nerve endings, resulting in increased sensitivity in the affected sites. Heat (calor) is caused by excessive blood flow to the affected site and is only felt in the body’s skin and other peripheral areas. Fever is caused by chemical inflammatory mediators and leads to an increase in temperature at the injury site (Ratan et al., 2022). Redness (rubor) results from the vasodilatation of tiny blood vessels in the injured area. Swelling (tumor), also known as oedema, results primarily from fluid accumulation outside the blood vessels. In addition, the loss of function (function laesa) can occur due to pain that limits mobility or severe oedema that inhibits mobility in the affected area (Ratan et al., 2022). Most importantly, the main reason for the appearance of the cardinal signs is the release of cytokines into the bloodstream, increasing the vascular permeability, or the capacity of chemicals to move via the blood vessels to arrive at the tissue.

The Role These Signs Play In Disease Management

 Doctors use cardinal signs to help them identify and diagnose inflammatory processes in the pancreas, heart, kidney, liver, brain, lungs, reproductive system, and intestinal tract that may damage tissues or diseases. As a result, they can establish a treatment plan to prevent tissue damage. The signs play a role in normal restoration responses for tissue repair and are critical in protecting from viral and bacterial infections and harmful environmental factors. For instance, the production of inflammatory mediators such as serotonin and prostaglandins induces vasodilation of local vessels that are leaky, promotes oedema, and facilitates immune cell infiltration that acts as a defence mechanism against diseases (Rea et al., 2018). In addition, inflammation is now widely considered a significant molecular pathway that contributes to the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including infections, immune-mediated diseases, cardiovascular disease processes, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and aging.

The Impact of Lacking the Ability to Create These Signs

Failure of a patient to express the signs can lead to prolonged and persistent inflammation, which is usually harmful and destructive. The absence of these signs means loss of the acute inflammatory processes to eliminate the issue injuries and can lead to inflammatory, chronic disorders such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, retinitis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, and psoriasis, that can last a lifetime damaging the host tissues (Rea et al., 2018).


Gibbins, I. (2018). The five cardinal signs of inflammation. The Medical Journal of Australia208(7), 295. 10.5694/mja17.00214.

Ratan, Z. A., Haidere, M. F., Costa, J. J., Runa, N. J., Hosseinzadeh, H., & Cho, J. Y. (2022). Overview of Inflammation. In Recent Advancements in Microbial Diversity (pp. 29-51). Academic Press.

Rea, I. M., Gibson, D. S., McGilligan, V., McNerlan, S. E., Alexander, H. D., & Ross, O. A. (2018). Age and age-related diseases: role of inflammation triggers and cytokines. Frontiers in immunology, 586.


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The signs of inflammation help an organism fight infectious diseases.

In a one to two-page paper:

Inflammation and Infectious Diseases

Inflammation and Infectious Diseases

List the four cardinal signs of inflammation.
Describe what physiological processes bring about these signs.
Describe the role these signs play in disease management.
Identify what would happen if a patient was unable to create these signs.

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