What is arthritis and its symptoms? Can it be cured?

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Treatments and remedies for arthritis

Watch this video by Dr. Sheldon discussing the benefits of turmeric curcumin on arthritis, joint pains and heart diseases.

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Healthy joints and arthritis joints comparison diagram

A chart of comparing a healthy joint with that of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Frequently Asked Questions (Q&A)

Although arthritis is usually thought of as a disease that affects elderly people, it can and does afflict younger people too. Arthritis is a chronic joint disease due to inflammation and joint deterioration which can be very painful and even crippling, disrupting the sufferer's daily life, wellness and in extreme cases, even curtailing the mobility of the person. It can also be very stressful for the caregiver as well when the arthritic patient's physical mobility and functionality is severely impeded.

So if you are experiencing symptoms of joint pains, joint stiffness or some swelling thereof, you may want to visit your medical practitioner for a diagnosis and get early treatment to thwart your joints from further degeneration and getting relief from pain if any.


There are over two hundred types of arthritis of which rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) being the more prevalent ones. The disease usually creeps up slowly over a period of time and the painful symptoms just gets worse and worse through the passage of time. However sometimes the symptoms can also manifest themselves very quickly indeed and this can be very agonizing for the victim.

Women unfortunately are more prone to getting chronic arthritis than their male counterparts. This is because in part, there are more female susceptibility forms of arthritis than there are for men.















Our cartilages are connective tissues which cushion and protect our joints by absorbing the stress and impact caused by our daily activities such as running, jumping, weight bearing postures, carrying heavy items and so on. It is our body's natural shock absorber. Thus our cartilages are subjected to daily wear and tear and when it thins and wear out, some form of arthritis will begin to develop. Joint infections and traumas can further accelerate or exacerbate the degeneration of the cartilages.

Rheumatoid arthritis is when your body’s own immune system attacks your body and that messes up the synovial fluid production function. This fluid nourishes the cartilages and lubricates the joints and thus when without it, your joints will become stiff and painful because of the lack of this natural joint lubricant. When the production of the fluid continues to be interrupted over a period of time, the situation can and will lead to damages and destruction of the joints affected which can even be crippling.


















Medical doctors usually begin to investigate arthritis by scrutinizing the level of synovial fluid of the affected joints, the joint's functional range of motion and any swelling around the joints thereof. Blood tests may be ordered to examine the degree of inflammation and joint synovial fluid level. You may even need to take X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) so that your doctor can visually examine the bones and joint conditions more in detail.

The objectives of arthritis treatment are first and foremost to reduce the pain and stiffness of the joints. Next is to prevent more damages being inflicted onto the affected joints. Lastly is to as much as possible restore functionality and mobility to stiff and damaged joints. This last part is usually done under the supervision of a physiotherapist or a chiropractor in which the patient is referred to by his or her medical doctor.

These three objectives are usually undertaken by the use of pain killer medications, physiotherapy, and using mobility aids if necessary so as to ease off the weight pressure and stress away from the joints.

Various medical reports had also indicated that acupuncture may help in pain relief as this form of traditional Chinese medicine helps to relax your muscles and may also instigate your body to produce more endorphins thus taking away some stress from you. Endorphin is a hormone that makes you more relaxed and is sometimes referred to as the "happy hormone".

If the arthritic condition is really bad, then surgery may then be an option such as hip and knee replacements, joint fusion and various other surgical methods and procedures. However, doctors will only recommend the surgical option as the last recourse and when all other treatments failed.

To prevent the onset and to slow down the ravaging degeneration of the joints, patients will also have to make some necessary lifestyle changes by adjusting their eating habits and embarking on a relevant exercise program that is designed to toughen up the bones and muscles around the affected areas. Stretching exercises are often recommended for pain relief and to loosen up any tight and tensed muscles. For those who are overweight, the first goal is to go on a weight loss diet in order to take the pressure away from the weight bearing joints. 

The arthritis patient's diet should largely comprise of food which is abundant in antioxidants (fruits and vegetables) in order to mop up the free radicals which ravage the cells and bodily tissues. Also to be integrated into the patients diet is food with anti-inflammatory properties such as in nuts and fish so as to reduce any swelling of the joints and to combat inflammation. Foods to avoid are the sugar laden ones especially those that contain a high amount of refined sugar, manufactured processed food and alcohol.

One of the most popular food and supplement to ease inflammation and relief pain in arthritic patients is the humble turmeric curcumin. This plant based root has been used for centuries in the Asian sub-continent countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan as a dye, food coloring and flavor for food such as curry. It is also widely used in traditional folk medicine. South East Asian countries such as in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia also use turmeric curcumin for the same purposes.

Today, doctors are encouraging arthritis patients to consume more turmeric curcumin as part of their arthritis treatment because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. You can also get this herbal supplement from your favorite health store or you can also buy it online. For better absorption into your digestive system, you ought to consume it along with bioperine which is a black pepper extract. Many health supplement companies have already combined these two active ingredients into their products.



















 

 




The consumption of the common household ginger is practiced by several forms of traditional Asian medicines for hundreds of years to reduce pain and inflammation especially for those who are suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The ginger root is also known to contain anti-inflammatory as well as pain relieving properties. So it is not a bad idea to drink ginger tea more often. Just remember to leave out the sugar from the drink.

You should also consume more foods that are rich vitamin C. This vitamin not only helps you to produce more collagen which is an important nutrient for your skin and joints, it also helps to mop up the highly damaging and destructive free radicals which are very harmful not only to your joints, but your entire physical body as well. 

Researchers have found that people whose meals which regularly contain a high amount of vitamin C had much lesser risks of their arthritis becoming more severe. However, do spread out the consumption of this vitamin throughout the day for more effective absorption into your body since our bodies cannot store the vitamin. So when too much vitamin C is consumed at any one time, your body will just simply pass out the excess in your urine making it "expensive urine".
 
Another good source of food which combats arthritis is the Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 can help to reduce inflammation and as such, to a certain extent, it will also relieve some of the pain. Omega-3 also can also be found in chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, Mackerels, Sardines, Cod liver oil, Tuna, Salmon, Anchovies and eggs among others. You can also get them in supplementation form over the counter.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but listening to music and relaxing by it can also be a form of pain relief. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation studied samplings of patients suffering from back pain, neck aches and other joint pains and divided the study subjects into 3 distinct groups. The first group was made to listen to soothing and relaxing music while the next group of study subjects listen to their own music preferences while the third group was not placed on any music therapy at all.

The researchers then found out that the two music listening groups reported the easing of arthritis pain than before they were put on the music therapy. The third non-music therapy group reported that their pain level had remained more or less the same or had become even worse for some of them. 

This study therefore came to the conclusion that the genre of music the study subjects listened to did not matter at all so long that the patients enjoyed the music. As a matter of fact, the researchers found that the test subjects of the second group who chose their own preferred music to listen to experienced greater pain relief than the other two groups.

Next, you are encouraged to keep a regular exercise program to get moving, strengthening your muscles and joints as well as keeping your mobility, flexibility and functionality in good working condition. But do exclude high impact exercises on your joints such as jogging and sports such as soccer and tennis. Swimming, brisk walking up slopes, exercising on an elliptical cross trainer, tai chi and bicycle riding are excellent non impact exercises and activities.

Weightlifting is also recommended to strengthen your muscles and bones. However, it is suggested that you do weight training with an experienced personal trainer in the field of training arthritic patients. Stretching exercises can also make you more nimble and flexible as well as to relieve some pain and aches. So joining a yoga or pilates class may be a good idea.

If you don't know what exercises to do, you may want to seek the help of a professional physiotherapist or a chiropractor to guide you to the right exercises for your specific case. Doing the right exercises not only can provide you with natural pain relief, it can also slow down and even to some degree correct the degenerative arthritic conditions.

My personal favorite exercise is swimming. Besides the advantages of this exercise as described above, swimming has also been proven improve hip, shoulders, neck and knee flexibility, functionality as well as overall physical strength and cardiovascular fitness level. However, the muscles used in swimming are predominantly the "pulling" muscles and as such, you need to visit the gym to workout the "pushing" muscles in order to maintain a healthy muscular balance.

If you are overweight, then you should definitely reduce your weight so as to put less burden on your joints. Otherwise because of the stress, your weight bearing joint's arthritis condition will get worse.

If you do not know how to lose weight, here are two weight loss diet plans which are very effective in getting rid of your excess body fat. They are the intermittent fasting technique and the low carbohydrate Ketogenic diet. Your weight loss will be even more dramatic if you combine the two diets together. However, if you have hormonal disorders or diabetes, do consult a doctor before you begin any form of diet to lose your excess body fat.






1) My father suffers from arthritis so am I more prone to getting it? Is genetic disposition a factor for developing arthritis?

Unfortunately yes, certain types of arthritis do run in the family line and as such you are probably get arthritis if your parents or siblings have it. Another factor that is genetic in factor is that people with human leukocyte antigen class II genotypes are more susceptible to arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. At the moment, medical professionals still have not figured out why this is so.

2) What are the high risk groups of people more likely to suffer from arthritis at some point of their lives?

The most common high risk groups are people who have diabetes and the older folks due mainly to the wear and tear of their joints through the passage of time.

Overweight people are also more likely to get arthritis, especially on the knees, hip, ankles, toes and spine as these joints bore the most impact and the stress of their excessive weight.

Sometimes, infections of the joints can also also lead to arthritis forming up. Those who had joint injuries through contact sports, accidents or repetitive overuse are also high risk potential victims.

Women are more susceptible than men in developing arthritis, especially so in the case ofosteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. On the other hand, gout usually affects men.

3) Are there any supplements I can take to ease my arthritic condition?

As described earlier in the article, turmeric curcumin is now perhaps the most recommended supplement to take for arthritis patients. Turmeric or more commonly known as the yellow ginger is actually a plant root and it has been used for thousands of years in China and India for the treatment of various ailments as well as a flavoring and color dye for culinary purposes. It is now known to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and as such is able to soothe and reduce arthritis and other inflammation. It is best taken with bioperine which is a black pepper extract for better absorption into your body.

Another plant root with anti-inflammatory properties is the humble ginger. However it is best to avoid taking ginger if you are taking blood thinning medications as they may be contraindicate with each other. Therefore if you are taking blood thinner medications, do check with your medical professional first.


Omega-3 fatty acid is another supplement with anti-inflammatory properties. You can find Omega 3 in supplementation form or in its natural form from foods such as cold water fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel. 

Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate supplements are used to promote cartilage formation and repair. However, medical research is not certain that they work well except in some cases of arthritic knee pain. So if you find them not helping your condition after a couple of months, then discontinue taking them at your fancy.

Can arthritis be healed completely? If so, how is this possible? Find out now at - How to cure arthritis naturally

Watch Dr Josh Axe talking about natural home remedies for the treatment of arthritis in this video.
















About The Author - Chris Chew is the health, fitness and grooming consultant to the Mister International Organization, which is the owner and producer of the Mister International and Mister Singapore Pageants. He is presently sitting on the advisory panel of Personal Trainers In Singapore and is himself an experienced and certified Master Trainer.

Chris is also the Director of food health and hygiene for food and beverage establishments such as Kingdom Food Group of restaurants.

This article was researched and presented here by Chris and is meant to be helpful to the readers. It is not meant to diagnose or suggest any treatment in lieu of your medical professional's advise.

Chris is based in the cosmopolitan tropical island nation of Singapore and is still training his clients for fat loss, muscle building and general physical fitness in his free time and he can be contacted
here


 

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