Inflammation is a part of your body’s response to an injury or illness. When you have an infection or wound, inflammation helps to fight off the bacteria and eventually facilitates the healing procedure. Build-up of cholesterol in your arteries can trigger an inflammatory response, too. Also, inflammation may promote the growth of plaques and trigger blood clots – the biggest cause of strokes and heart attacks. When a blood clot blocks an artery to your heart, you have a heart attack. If the blood clots block an artery to the brain, you have a stroke.