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Dealing With Arthritis and The Natural Treatments

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:55pm

By: Richard Williams

There are many types of arthritis, there are over one hundred different types and in some cases there is swelling present, however in others there is no swelling. The word arthritis is derived from the Greek word arthron, which translates to the word joint, and itis, which means inflammation. Arthritis is also often thought of as a disease of the aged, this is a misconception as there are forms of arthritis that can affect humans of any age.

Most people have heard of certain types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or fibromyalgia as they tend to be the most common forms. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is an inflammatory type. This type of arthritis is an inflammation of the linings of joints and affects the hands and wrists as well as the ankles and feet as well as other joints like the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. There can often be signs of redness, swelling, heat and pain with rheumatoid arthritis.

When there is a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis it means that white blood cells including what are known as T cells and B cells, along with polymorphonuclear leukocytes, macrophages and certain lymphocytes are over active. This is what causes the inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system is attacking other parts of the body.

This type of arthritis can not only affects the joints, it also has the ability to affect internal organs like the lungs, heart and eyes.

Osteoarthritis is another common form of arthritis; the cause of it is the breakdown of cartilage, the material that protects the ends of the bones that may break off and cause pain or swelling. In many cases the cartilage, which is an elastic type of material, will completely erode allowing the bones to rub together. The erosion of cartilage can occur in any bone but this tends to affect the knees, hips, hands and spine. Cartilage is made up from two components, cells called chondrocytes and the matrix. The chondrocytes sit in the matrix and the matrix is made of collagen and proteoglycans. Prior to the development of osteoarthritis there is a chemical change in which there is a decrease in the amount of chondrcytes, along with proteoglycan and collagen. This leaves the cartilage to soften and crack. The cracks are called fibrillations and this is the cartilage that will erode over time. To add to this, are cells within the joint lining that begin to produce enzymes and cytokines that also help to destroy the cartilage and the joint.

This type of arthritis is classified as a non-inflammatory arthritis meaning that it is not a form that causes swelling, which has been found to be incorrect. As Osteoarthritis develops in a joint the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber over time becomes thin and rough and the bone thickens. When thickening of the bones occurs it allows them to form bumps that are referred to as spurs, these spurs are called osteophytes. The joints can loose their shape; the muscles associated with them weaken from lack of use. This can cause the joint can stop working properly.

Osteoarthritis is usually diagnosed in people over age 45, however it can affect a person at any age. This type of arthritis progresses slowly and affects weight bearing joints as well as the hands and thumbs. Moving the joints affected by Osteoarthritis can be painful as well as stiff and it is also the most common joint disease.

When it affects the knee joints it is not unusual to hear a grating sound when walking on stairs because of the cartilage that has thinned. Walking and other tasks can become difficult due to the pain associated with this type of arthritis.

The diagnosis of Osteoarthritis is often done with the use of x-rays and these can show an enlargement of bone ends as well as narrowing of the joint space.

Once a patient has been diagnosed with this specific type of arthritis there are traditional medications that can be prescribed. There are also vitamins and minerals that can help to combat this condition, both before and after the diagnosis.

It is well documented that when diagnosed it is recommended that foods rich in natural anti-inflammatory and joint supporting nutrients, along with antioxidants be a part of the diet.

This includes Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been included in studies over two decades and have proved to be beneficial in the influence of cellular metabolic functions, reducing cytokines and supporting cell membrane structure.

Soybean and avocado oil has been proven in studies to promote the production of collagen while at the same time lowering the production of cytokines. This supplement was tried in a study that included 260 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee that ranged in age from 45 to 80 year of age. The study showed improvements in the patients that were given the soybean and avocado oil supplements over those who were given a placebo.

Another supplement that has proven beneficial is crucumin this is an element of turmeric it is also an anti-inflammatory. Crucumin when study along with capsaicin that is comprised from red pepper was found to decrease cytokines.

One study that was done using powdered ginger with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis found that approximately 75 percent of the patients had a decrease in swelling and pain relief. Ginger was found to have properties to block pro-inflammatory mediators and suppresses prostaglandin production.

Nobiletin is a flavonoid that is a natural compound found in orange peel and is known for its ability to disrupt the progression of cytokines.

Nettle Leaf has long been known for its use in treating disease, and the American Indian used Nettle Leaf in the treatment of dropsy by using the extract of this plant. The botanical name of nettle leaf is Urticaceae and is derived from Latin and translated means to burn.

There are also other helpful natural supplements to aid in the relief of osteoarthritis, such as hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and green tea extract.

These are some of the natural compounds that have been studied and have shown results in relieving the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and in some case rheumatoid arthritis.

Richard Williams is the owner of A1 Discount Vitamins. A1 Discount Vitamins offer a wide selection of discount vitamins & supplements to help get you health or better yet, keep you health.

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