Healing - the processes and mechanisms by which the body repairs itself. Healing represents complex and cascading interactions among various of the body’s systems and mechanisms. Among the first to respond are the COAGULATION cascade, to stop bleeding, and the IMMUNE RESPONSE, which mobilizes T-cell lymphocytes, macrophages, antibodies, the COMPLEMENT CASCADE, and the release of CYTOKINES and PROSTAGLANDINS. Fibroblasts (cells that build collagen) converge at the site about 48 hours after the injury occurs to begin construction of SCAR tissue. After about six weeks the healing process turns its focus to remodeling the collagen tissue, restoring the tissues at the site of the injury to relatively normal structure and appearance. This final phase of healing lasts six months to two years, depending on the extent of the injury.
Disease processes influence healing as well. Chronic conditions such as DIABETES and PERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASE (PVD), themselves likely the result of inflammatory dysfunction of some sort, damage the fine networks of nerves and BLOOD vessels that intertwine through the tissues, limiting the ability of these structures to carry signals (nerves) and transport molecules and cells vital to immune function (blood vessels). Serious injury-whether from disease process, trauma, or major surgery-affects endocrine and hormonal activity throughout the body, which influence the rate and processes of healing. Serious injury temporarily stuns the THYROID GLAND, for example, resulting in reduced production of thyroid hormones and consequential slowing of METABOLISM (EUTHYROID SICK SYNDROME).
Although researchers can map the physiologic steps of healing, much of healing remains a mystery. Researchers do not fully understand what starts, regulates, and ends the healing process. Many integrations across neurologic, endocrine, and immune functions are factors in healing. Some researchers are exploring connections between emotions and the numerous biochemical substances that are key to the healing process. Researchers know, for example, that emotional stress influences the release of numerous hormones in the body and the release of these hormones-such as the hormone CORTISOL, a powerful immunosuppressant-directly affects the functions of the IMMUNE SYSTEM. Research has shown that pain is a stressor and affects the rate of healing. Studies continue to explore the relationship between the mind and healing.
See also AYURVEDA; HORMONE; INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE; MIND-BODY INTERACTIONS; PATHOGEN; REIKI; STRESS RESPONSE HORMONAL CASCADE; TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM); WOUND CARE.
Resource: Facts On File Encyclopedia Of Health And Medicine
Antibody definition Antibody is a unique molecule that binds with a specific ANTIGEN so the IMMUNE SYSTEM can neutralize or destroy the antigen. Antigens are molecular markers on the surfaces of cells that identify the cells to the immune system. Antibodies are the immune system’s infantry, patrolling the BLOOD and LYMPH circulations and responding
Allergy definition Allergy - an abnormal sensitivity to an ordinarily harmless substance, called an ALLERGEN, that produces a HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION (allergic reaction) in response to the IMMUNE SYSTEM’s detection of the substance’s presence. A person can have an allergy to nearly any substance. Though researchers understand the mechanisms
Diagnostic procedures to determine the allergens responsible for HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION. The most specific ALLERGY test is the allergy SKIN test, also called a scratch test or a patch test. For this test, the allergist uses the inside of the arm or a section of the back to expose the body to suspected allergens. The allergist places a small drop of a
A HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION (allergic reaction) that affects the SKIN, usually in response to contact with an ALLERGEN. As with all hypersensitivity reactions, the first exposure to the allergen produces no symptoms. In reaction to the exposure, however, the IMMUNE SYSTEM produces antibodies for the allergen. Subsequent exposures to the allergen then do
What is Allergic Asthma and definition Allergic asthma is a HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION (allergic reaction) that involves the airways (bronchi). allergic ASTHMA is a type I or IMMUNOGLOBULIN E (IgE) reaction. Mast cells in the bronchial membranes release HISTAMINE, PROSTAGLANDINS, and LEUKOTRIENES. These substances cause itching and swelling of the bronchial
Allergic conjunctivitis - A type I (IMMUNOGLOBULIN E [IgE]) HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION, commonly called an allergic reaction, that affects the membranes that line the inner eyelids (conjunctiva). Sometimes the irritation also reddens the white part of the eye (sclera). Allergic CONJUNCTIVITIS features red and swollen conjunctiva with excessive tearing and
Define Active Immunity Long-term, acquired immune protection. Active immunity, also called acquired immunity, results from fighting an INFECTION or receiving a VACCINE that stimulates ANTIBODY response. In many circumstances active immunity is lifelong.
At birth the IMMUNE SYSTEM is fairly undeveloped. The infant relies largely on the carryover of maternal immune components for about the first six weeks of its life, while the infant’s body builds its own immune system. By age four months, maternal IMMUNITY wears off and the infant’s immune system is on its own (though an infant who is
What is Allergen and definition Allergen - a harmless substance, also called a hapten, that causes an exaggerated response from the IMMUNE SYSTEM called a HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION. For reasons researchers do not fully understand, the immune system produces antibodies for the substance that result in the IMMUNE RESPONSE perceiving the substance as a
What is Allergic Rhinitis and Definition A HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION to inhaled allergens. Allergic rhinitis, also called seasonal rhinitis or hay FEVER, affects the mucous membranes inside the NOSE (nasal mucosa). Allergic rhinitis affects about 40 million adults in the United States, making it one of the most common hypersensitivity reactions. The