Arthritis – Osteoarthritis/ Rheumatoid

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, usually accompanied by pain, stiffness, swelling, loss of function and over time, changes in structure. Arthritis is associated with many diseases including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus erythematosus, Lyme disease, psoriasis, scleroderma, Reiter’s syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Symptoms

Osteoarthritis, usually found in elderly people, develops mainly as a result of the continuous wearing away of the cartilage in a joint. It is the most prevalent form of arthritis. It is characterised by pain and stiffness (especially after exercise), swelling, deformity, and/or a diminished range of motion.

Bone growths or spurs may develop on the margins of affected joints, increasing pain and decreasing mobility. There may be audible cracking or grating noises when the joint moves.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes stiffness (especially in the mornings), swelling, and, often, crippling pain. It may also cause fatigue, anaemia and weight loss. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder: it is a “self-attacking-self” disease. The body’s immune system improperly identifies the synovial membranes as foreign. Inflammation results, damaging cartilage and tissues in and around the joints. Normal spaces within the joints become narrowed and the bones may even fuse together.

Causes

The causes of osteoarthritis can be injury or an inherited defect in the protein that forms cartilage. Mostly, it is a result of the wear and tear related to ageing, diet and lifestyle. Risk factors include obesity, overuse or abuse of joints as in sports or strenuous occupations, and trauma.

The underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown.

Natural Therapies

The application of proper diet, and lifestyle changes, combined with nutritional supplements may relieve the inflammation, pain and slow-down degeneration of the affected joints.

  • Glucosamine- Clinical trials show that glucosamine may help reduce joint inflammation and swelling, increase joint mobility and provide temporary relief of the pain of osteoarthritis.
  • Blackmores Lyprinol® is a natural anti-inflammatory supplement containing a unique patented marine extract. Its potent anti-inflammatory action assists in the maintenance of healthy airways and breathing passages, and may provide relief from joint swelling and arthritis.
  • Fish Oil 1000 contains omega-3 fatty acids which provide an anti-inflammatory action within the body which may be beneficial for the relief of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Lifestyle Factors

  • Eat a diet rich in deep sea fish, green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, natural herbs, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, olive oil and drinking plenty of filtered water.
  • Avoid refined, devitalised, processed foods, excess sugar, caffeine, saturated fats and alcohol.
  • Exercise (especially non-weight-bearing exercise such as swimming) is important in both the prevention and treatment of arthritis. It improves muscle strength and maintains mobility.
  • Overweight and obesity also affect the weight bearing joints, which become irritated and stressed by having to carry too much of a load.
  • Correct posture is also important in avoiding uneven distribution of body weight, causing stiffness and crippling.

Remedies

Exercise is important in both the prevention and treatment of arthritis . It improves muscle strength and maintains mobility.

Overweight and obesity also affect the weight bearing joints, which become irritated and stressed by having to carry too much of a load.

Correct posture is also important in avoiding body weight to be distributed unevenly, and causing stiffness and crippling.

Important Notes

If you suspect you are suffering from arthritis, prompt diagnosis will help to determine the type, and therefore, the right treatment and prevention.
Food allergies may be a cause for some individuals especially if there is only occasional joint pain. An elimination diet, or allergy diet, may be necessary to determine which foods are the offending allergens.
Arthritis is sometimes described as just a symptom of an underlying condition. If you are suffering from arthritis, it is imperative to investigate the health of all the different systems of the body, especially the health of the digestive, circulatory and immune systems. Arthritis is a complex, and also very individual condition requiring individual attention.

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