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Health Focus- Arthritis

Posted Mar 06 2009 10:59am
Natural Ways to Prevent and Manage Arthritic Pain

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability for people over the age of 15, and is an umbrella term for over 100 types of arthritic conditions. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, occurs naturally with age, leaving us all susceptible to the affects of arthritic pain. Life style changes and diet can slow down the deterioration of joint materials, as well as greatly assist those already suffering with the disease.

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage and the synovial fluid (nutrient rich joint lubricant) begin to deteriorate, leaving no buffer between the bone ends in a particular joint. The resulting bone-on-bone interaction creates pain and inflammation. The pain can grow so severe that common activities such as walking, typing or cutting your food can become extremely difficult.

The most common methods of treating arthritic conditions are with medications such as
NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) known commonly by names such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These drugs work on pain by targeting enzymes which cause inflammation.The most serious side effects of these drugs are kidney failure, liver failure, stomach issues and ulcers.

COX 2 Inhibitors are the prescriptions class strength NSAIDS. And although "easier on the stomach" and help with pain, there are many questions surrounding heart safety while on these medications that have created concern about their use.

DMARDS (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) work by slowing down the arthritic disease and prevent permanent damage. This is done by blunting the immune system, which in turn blunts the inflammatory process. Blunting the immune system also increases susceptibility to infection and other diseases.

Some cases of arthritis grow so severe, that surgery or total joint replacement is needed for mobility.

So what can you do to prevent arthritis naturally? And if you have arthritis and are currently on medication, how can you protect and improve your overall well-being thru your diet?

Adding anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich foods onto your plate, can greatly reduce inflammation and provide your body with many health benefits. Foods rich in Omega-3, in particular EPA and DHA, have been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the entire body and are found in natural sources such as wild salmon, flax seeds, cod (cod liver oil) and walnuts. For more on Omega 3 benefits, visit one of my favorite websites at

Also, foods rich in bioflavonoids such as apples, cinnamon, cocoa, grapes, cranberries and various teas (notably green tea, black currant, and black teas) provide an anti-inflammatory benefit, as well as powerful protection against heart disease and many other ailments. Numerous studies have been completed on the efficacy of bioflavonoids, concluding them as powerful antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory agents.

Jennifer is currently studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and can be contacted via her website

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