Pathology dictionary -

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation is the body’s long term or delayed defense to injury or disease. Cells from the body's immune system take part in this response. These cells include lymphocytes, plasma cells, and histiocytes. 

Chronic inflammation is a normal response by the body to injury. However, chronic inflammation that continues for a long period of time is abnormal and may require treatment.


Chronic inflammation may continue for a long period of time when the cause of the inflammation cannot be removed from the body or when cells from the immune system start behaving in an abnormal manner.

If left untreated, chronic inflammation can damage tissue and in some cases even lead to cancer.


Chronic inflammation is a descriptive term and is not a diagnosis in itself. The combination of chronic inflammation with other information, however, is often enough to provide a diagnosis for most patients.

Medical conditions associated with ongoing chronic inflammation include:

  • Celiac disease.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Multiple sclerosis.

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