What is Arthritis -Rheumatism?
Arthritis, also called rheumatism is the generic name given to over 100 different but related conditions, which affect our joint. All these conditions share the common characteristics of pain and inflammation in the joints. Arthritis affects approximately one in five people in developed countries. And one in three Americans are affected by arthritis or other chronic joint problems. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and fibromyalgia.
Causes and symptoms
There are many common causes of arthritis, including genetic, injury, infections, metabolic and immune system disorders, nutritional deficiencies, stress and environmental pollutants, and toxins.
Degenerative joint disease, or osteoarthritis, is the most common form of arthritis striking 121 people out of 1,000 between the ages of 18 and 79.
When bone rubs against bone because the joint surface is gone, osteoarthritis develops. This rubbing happens when the cartilage that surrounds the ends of the bone degenerates. Cartilage provides shock absorbency and reduces friction as a joint moves. A joint consists of two or more bones and the cartilage, which helps cushion the joint. Joints can come in many sizes and shapes. Most often the weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees and spine, are affected with osteoarthritis.
Early in the disease, your painful joints may be stiff but won’t usually be warm or swollen. Over time the pain may become constant and wake you up at night. The cartilage may continue to wear away until bone is crunching on bone and a grating sound is heard. Deformity results when one side of the joint collapses more than the other side.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. It usually first appears between the ages of 25 and 50, but it can occur in children and in senior citizens.
Most commonly the joints of the fingers, wrists, arms and legs are affected and it will involve the same joints on both sides of the body. Swelling, pain, deformity and stiffness are typically present. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis may also affect the heart, lungs, and eyes of some patients. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause an overall feeling of sickness and fatigue as well as weight loss and fever.
Some patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience constant symptoms while others have courses of bad periods or flares and good periods called remissions. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown but it is thought to be an autoimmune disease meaning that the body tissue is the victim of an immune response against itself.
Eighty to 90 percent of all fibromyalgia patients are women between the ages of 35 and 60. Constant fatigue, deep muscle pain, sleeplessness and depression are widespread symptoms of fibromyalgia. Tender points under the skin have become a hallmark of this disease. For all patients, these tender points are painful when pressed.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) does not involve the joints like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rather it is a type of rheumatism of the muscles, ligaments, tendons or soft tissues. Rheumatism describes the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis. Although the symptoms of fibromyalgia may come and go over the years, the disease itself is chronic or long-term.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Arthritis Pain
Activity modification. As your arthritis advances, your doctor may recommend a change in your physical activities to help reduce the pain and inflammation in your joints. For example, you may need to find different ways to carry out your daily activities that are less stressful to your joints, perhaps by using adaptive equipment. You may need to change, or begin, an exercise program. Your physician can guide you through the modifications you need to your lifestyle.
Anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Medications for advanced arthritis sufferers typically include a combination of first and second-line medications. Some of these medications include analgesics (acetaminophen), non steroidal anit-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), and salicylates (aspirin).
Physical therapy. Physical therapy has proven beneficial in reducing the symptoms of advanced arthritis and in increasing the sufferer's mobility. Physical therapy usually includes an exercise program, which studies show can improve aerobic capacity and alleviate depression and anxiety among arthritis sufferers. Exercise activities may include range of motion, strengthening and endurance exercises.
Specialized braces may be helpful in some cases of arthritis. The braces are designed to create a force which transfers load from an area of the joint where the cartilage is most worn to an area where there is still some cartilage remaining.
Weight reduction. Obesity does aggravate the symptoms of arthritis. Your physician may recommend weight loss as a way to relieve some of the stress on your joints and reduce pain and inflammation.
Additionally, some arthritis sufferers seek alternative treatments, including everything from herbal supplements to copper bracelets, mineral springs, magnets, large doses of vitamins and even snake venom. Before taking any medication or alternative treatment, consult your primary care physician.
Nutritional supplements that effectively treat arthritis
Green lipped mussel inhibits inflammation in the body. Although inflammation is normal under certain conditions, consistent or excessive inflammation can result in pain and damage to the body, including the joints. The human body makes several chemical mediators of inflammation. Levels of these chemicals in the body may be higher in people with RA who are experiencing symptoms than in symptom-free people with arthritis.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar used to create glycosaminoglycans and synovial fluid that keeps the joints cushioned and well lubricated. Glucosamine is important for the structure and function of cartilage in the joints of the body.
It helps to stimulate the cells that produce these glycosaminoglycans and normalise cartilage metabolism by inhibiting their breakdown and exerting anti-inflammatory effects.
Glucosamine Sulphate seems to be the most beneficial form of glucosamine as it is the only form shown in clinical trials to be effective for osteoarthritis. It not only is used to help the body to repair damaged or eroded cartilage, it also acts to improve connective tissue structure in the intestine.
Shark Liver Oil is a natural product that has great success with arthritis because it contains different substances that combat arthritis. It boosts the immune system with alkylglycerols, it has squalene in it which is an antioxidant, it contains vitamin E and omega 3 oils and combats Leaky Gut Syndrome which is at the bottom of so many cases of arthritis.
Deer velvet antler has been scientifically proven to provide the following benefits:
Krill Oil A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition examined krill oil (300 mg daily) compared to a placebo and found that krill oil was effective at reducing arthritis symptoms and inflammation.