MDs: Is an inflammation a symptom of something/anything ending in "itis," not an infection per se?

Please help settle a bet between my wife and me.

Which there might not be, considering the undoubtable misinformation we framed the bet in.

Me: BTW, that guy told me so-and-so has an auto-immune deficiency and some liver fuck-up
She: That guy used to be a junkie, right? Probably hepatitis. Sharing needles.
Me: “itis” means an infection of, ie hepatitis, etc. It’s the auto-immune stuff that’s preventing her getting better. I have no idea about any infection. I also have no idea what I’m talking about about the auto-immune stuff, but i have no idea but an infection. An itis.
She: Doesn’t bronchitis mean inflamed bronchial tubes?
Me: Yes, but that’s a symptom. There’s some mnemonic for inflammation, so,etching with rubor–which means redness, because I’m one smart husband you got there.
She: Does not.
Me: Does too.
She [flashing hooked pinky]: Bet. Dishes.
Me: [hooking my pinky to hers]: Bet.

-Itis is inflammation. It’s possible to have inflammation without infection. To given an eye-related example, allergic conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva secondary to an allergic reaction, without infection.

For the record, i’m a doctor of optometry (OD), not an MD. I just want to clarify since you specified that degree in the title of your post.

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, not infection of the liver. The most common reasons for having inflammation of the liver are indeed infections, but it’s not a sure bet. Excessive alcohol intake and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol) or other drug toxity can cause hepatitis without infection. Autoimmune disorders can cause hepatitis, as can some inborn errors of metabolism.

Sounds like so-and-so’s hepatitis could potentially be from more than one source, if he has a history of intravenous drug use (drug toxicity, infectious hepatitis) and an autoimmune disorder (auto-immune hepatitis).

What does your wife win?

Well then, your answer is completely illegitimate. :mad:

Except that you are right. A gazillion (to use a medical term) things cause inflammation, only one of which is infection.

Another example is a myocardial infarction (heart attack), in which an inflammatory process ensues to clean up the dead tissue.

There are also infections in which little no inflammation is involved (i.e. in some situations involving immunosuppressed people).

The suffix ‘-itis’ indicates inflammation which is the broad term used to denote the body’s response, or at least a tissue’s response, to injury.

Infection is one cause of inflammation. Other causes include:

  • immune or autoimmune (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, e.g. lupus),
  • mechanical (e.g. osteoarthritis, e.g. gum inflammation from poorly fitting dentures),
  • metabolic (e.g. gout, e.g. hepatitis from copper accumulation (Wilson’s Disease)),
  • nutritional (e.g. inflamed tongue from vitamin B12 deficiency),
  • drug-induced (e.g. aspirin causing gastritis, e.g. amiodarone causing pneumonitis or thyroiditis),
  • and that all-too-common catch-all ‘idiopathic’, i.e. of unknown cause (e.g. sarcoidosis).

I’m afraid you’ll be doing the dishes. I don’t even see a good way for you to backpedal out of this. Your wife is solidly right.

When you do all those dishes, make sure you use a gentle dish soap to avoid contact dermatitis.

The suffix “-itis” is very broad, and can mean any disorder of any systemic or organic part of the body. Usually with a prefix that identifies the body part affected (hepatitis, dermatitis, bronchitis, retinitis, etc.). It does not necessarily mean that the body part is the locus of a disease that is requires medical attention. Conditions using the suffix -itis can be benign conditions that will resolve spontaneously, and may be treated only to relieve temporary discomfort from the symptoms presented. But can also be medical emergencies or terminal conditions for which there is no treatment nor cure.

And don’t splash any in your eyes, lest you wind up with keratitis!

Worse yet if it’s accompanied by traumatic uveitis!

Don’t scrub too hard or you may get bursitis!

Well…damn. Ignorance fought, but Pyhrric, Pyhrric, for this side.

BTW, I found 484 things to rhyme with hepatitis(not all pathologies), and I bet dish-washing can be linked to every one.
ETA: I just thought of “Bilitis,” which is a consolation prize, and I’ll bring it up just to piss her off, at least…