What are the symptoms of inflammation?

Lawrence T. Chiaramonte, MD
Allergy & Immunology
In medical school we learn that inflammation is characterized by four things:

Rubor -- Color or redness generated by the increased blood flow into a region.
Tumor -- Swelling caused by the release of fluid from the blood vessels in the region.
Dolor -- Pain, as increased swelling stimulates local pain fibers.
Calor -- Heat, as increased blood flow generates heat.

When you look at these words in the context of modern English, you can appreciate the many characteristics ascribed to these symptoms of inflammation:

Rubor -- Think of ruby red, the color of blood.
Tumor -- What does tumor mean in old English? It's a swelling on the body, either cancerous or not.
Dolor -- Pain.
Calor -- Calories are units of energy, and energy gives off what? Heat.
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Inflammation can vary in its severity and its symptoms. They can be confined to a particular area or can affect much of the body. Usually at least a couple of the symptoms are present. The affected area can be red, sore, swollen, stiff, and warm. You may lose some range of motion in affected joints or muscles. Occasionally, you may also have fevers or chills with headaches and a lack of energy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.