What is Rheumatism & Osteoarthritis?
Arthritis, also called rheumatism or osteoarthritis is the generic name given to over 100 different but related conditions, which affect our joints. 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 will not usually be inflammed 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
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 anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), and salicylates (aspirin).
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.
Specialised 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 Extract has very high concentrations of glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate - mucopolysaccharides, vitamin B-complex, proteins and minerals, natural Omega 3 fatty acids. This makes it inevitable that it is very useful for arthritis sufferers. See more information on NZ Pure Health Green Lipped Mussel here.
Deer Velvet. For centuries, deer velvet has been used to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, support joint care and mobility, and assist muscle tone and general well-being. NZ Pure Health; deer velvet contains over 30 Amino Acids, including ten of the most essentials, together with proteins, omega 3 & 6 lipids, glycosaminoglycans (Glucosamine and Chondroitin), minerals, and trace elements.
Krill Oil is derived from tiny shrimp like marine crustaceans that live deep in the ocean. There are millions of these crustaceans worldwide, making them an environmentally sustainable resource. Deep Blue Health Krill Oil supplement is naturally rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids - EPA and DHA and it also contains the potent antioxidant, astaxanthin. This is a premium quality supplement with many biological benefits, including support for the immune system, the brain, the heart, joints and skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids/fish oils. Research has shown fish oils are really helpful for some people with arthritis. Fish oil capsules reduce morning stiffness and joint tenderness. Because fish oils increase blood clotting time, they should not be used by people who have hemophilia or who take anticoagulant medicines or aspirin regularly.
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.
Shark Cartilage is comprised primarily of proteins and complex carbohydrates known as glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s). It is one of these GAG’s, chondroitin sulphate, the predominant GAG in shark cartilage, which is thought to contribute to the anti-angiogenisis properties of this product. Shark cartilage is now widely used as a natural anti-angiogenisis agent in a variety of diseases associated with new blood vessel formation. These include arthritic conditions and certain types of malignancies.
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