Osteoarthritis is one of the oldest and most common types of arthritis. With the breakdown of cartilage, the part of the joint that cushions the end of bones, bones rub each other, causing pain and loss of movement. Often called “wear and tear arthritis” or “old person’s arthritis, osteoarthritis is a condition likely to occur as a person ages, resulting from the collective wear and tear of the joints experienced in a lifetime. Several factors contribute to the occurrence of osteoarthritis besides normal wear and tear.
In many cases certain conditions seem to trigger osteoarthritis. People with joint Injuries from sports, work related activity, or accidents may be at increased risk and obesity may lead to osteoarthritis of the knees. Individuals with mismatched surfaces on the joints that could be damaged over time by abnormal stress may be prone to osteoarthritis. One study reported that wearing shoes with 6.3cm heels or higher may also be a contributing factor. High heels force women to alter the way they normally maintain balance, putting strain on the areas between the kneecap and thigh bone and on the inside of the knee joint.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
The symptom of osteoarthritis range from the inconvenience to debilitation on a scale that seriously threatens a person’s livelihood. Osteoarthritis, like many other forms of arthritis, presents with persistent pain as the most notable and constant symptom. Stiffness in a joint is a tell-tale sign of the presence of osteoarthritis as well as muscle weakness around an affected joint.
Osteoarthritic joints also have a major tendency to swell, causing additional pain requiring attention to reduce the swelling on a consistent basis. In terms of major symptoms that cause quality of life to plummet, osteoarthritis causes joints to deform, creating increased chance of additional damage. These deformations also lead to a loss of flexibility and reduced range of motion.
When a person suffers from osteoarthritis, the symptoms manifest with varying levels of severity. Some symptoms of osteoarthritis are more inherently severe and threatening than others, ranging from mild inconvenience to debilitating pain. The deformations of joints and subsequent exposure to further permanent damage are the chief threats to a disabling condition. Increased daily amounts of pain, swelling require daily management to maintain a decent quality of life.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis
A diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made based on a physical exam and history of symptoms. X-rays are used to confirm diagnosis. In people over 60, the disease can often be observed on X-ray. An indication of cartilage loss arises if the normal space between the bones in a joint is narrowed. If there is an abnormal increase in bone density or if bony projections or erosions are evident. Any cysts that might develop in osteoarthritis joints are also detectable by X-ray.
Additional tests can be performed if other conditions are suspected or if the diagnosis is uncertain. Blood tests can rule out rheumatoid arthritis or other forms of arthritis. It is possible to distinguish osteoarthritis from other joint diseases by considering a number of factors together:
- Osteoarthritis usually occurs in older people
- It is usually located in only one or a few joints
- The joints are less inflamed than in other arthritic conditions
- Progression of pain is almost always gradual. Few of the most common disorders that might be confused with osteoarthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, chondrocalcinosis, and Charcot’s joints.
Treatment and Management of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is often a progressive degenerative disease. There is no known way to prevent osteoarthritis or slow its progression. Some lifestyle changes can reduce or delay symptoms. Treatment often focuses on decreasing pain and improving joint movement. Prevention and treatment may include:
- Exercises to maintain joint flexibility and improve muscle strength. By strengthing the supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments, regular weight bearing exercise helps protect joints, even possibly stimulating growth of the cartilage.
- Joint protection, which prevents strain and stress on painful joints.
- Heat/cold therapy for temporary pain relief.
- Various pain control medications, including corticosteroids and NSAIDs (nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ketoprofen (e.g. ketovail), Naproxen (e.g. Relev & Relev rapid, Clofenac SR, Clofenac) etc. acetaminophen and ibuprofen. For inflamed joints that are not responsive to NSAIDs, injectable glucocorticoids may be used. For mild pain without inflammation, acetaminophen may be used.
- Weight control, which prevents extra stress on weight-bearing joints. One study reported that weight loss seemed to reduce the risk for symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee in women, and in another woman who lost 11 pounds or more cut their risk for developing osteoarthritis in half.
- Surgery may be needed to relieve damaged joints. Osteoarthritis is the most indication for total joint replacement of the hip and knee.
Use of supplements for Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Instead of simply dulling the pain with drugs or performing expensive and potentially dangerous surgery, many doctors now in Europe, America and elsewhere are actually curing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. They have had excellent results with approaches based on a combination of natural supplements that have been shown to slow and eventually eliminate the disease in many patients. The facts about this revolutionary approach to solving a widespread problem are amazing:
Something apparently goes wrong with the cartilage matrix in a person with osteoarthritis. The body doesn’t produce proteoglycans and collagen, the building blocks of cartilage, fast enough to keep the cartilage healthy (this is one of the effects that aging has on cartilage). At the same time, “cartilage-chewing” enzymes are hard at work, destroying the working cartilage that is present. It’s a two-fold problem that needs a two-part solution: glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates.
Used together, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates stimulate the synthesis of new cartilage while simultaneously keeping the cartilage-busting enzymes under control. This helps to normalize the cartilage matrix, in essence treating the disease at the cellular level. Other arthritis treatments relieve pain or reduce inflammation. But the one-two punch of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates can actually halt the disease process in its tracks and help the body heal itself. By itself each supplement is effective. Together, they may well be the answer for millions of solution that works where drugs and surgeries have failed. Recent researchers have also suggested the use of sulphur and sulphur containing foods as beneficial for arthritis. such sulfur containing foods include asparagus, garlic, onions, eggs etc. sulfur is needed for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage and connective tissue, and aids in the absorption of calcium. Some notable pharmaceutical products with elaborate supply of sulphur is joint renew marketed by Sylken Pharmaceuticals. Joint Renew is a unique blend of chondroitin, glucosamine and MSM. MSM in joint renew is a great source of sulfur for repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage and connective tissues.
Other foods useful for arthritis treatment include green leafy vegetables: non-acidic fresh fruits; whole grains; oatmeal; brown rice; and fish. Consume foods containing the amino acid histidine, including rice wheat and rye. Histidine is good for removing excess metals from the body. Many people with arthritis are said to have high levels of copper and iron in their bodies. Eat fresh pineapple frequently. Bromelain an enzyme found in pineapple is excellent for reducing inflammation. To be effective, the pineapple must be fresh, as freezing and canning destroy the enzymes. Eat some form of fiber, such as ground flaxseeds, oat bran, or rice bran daily.
Do not take iron supplements or a multivitamin containing iron. Iron is suspected of being involved in pain, swelling and joint destruction. Other measures like “Hot rubs and baths” may provide relief. Raw lemon rubs and hot castor oil packs are also beneficial. To make a hot castor oil pack, place castor oil in a pan and heat, but do not boil it. Dip a piece of the cloth or other white cotton material into the oil until the cloth is saturated. Apply the cloth to the affected area and cover with the cotton cloth. Place a heating pad over the plastic and use it to keep the pack to two hours, as needed. According to some osteopaths, moderate exercise is essential for reducing pain and retarding joint deterioration. Regular activity that does not put stress on affected joints, but that strengthens surrounding bones, muscles and ligaments is valuable for many types of arthritis. Bicycle riding, walking and water exercises are good choices. Avoid weight bearing or impact exercises if you are overweight, lose weight. Overweight can aggravate osteoarthritis.
Eating Away joint pains
Over time experts have done researchers and have come out with foods that can help to improve physical condition. Here are some foods that can promote stronger bone and fight degenerative joint diseases and osteoarthritis.
Soya: Soya protein has been tried and tested to be a vegetable protein source with all the essential amino acids. Experts have reported notable improvement in the knee pain conditions and a much lesser discomfort after consistent soya protein consumption for a period of time.
Fruits: Fruits are a great source of naturally abundant minerals and vitamins. A diet rich in fruits can successfully minimize the risk of developing any lesions in the bone marrow. Fruits like mango, pawpaw, orange, and grapes, full of vitamin C are the most effective treatment for knee pain. Vitamin C in the fruits helps protect the supportive structures of bone and the knee joints.
Fish:Fish is another excellent medicine found naturally. Fish oil has proved to beb effective in joint/bone pain conditions (arthritis) because of the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids help in not only blocking the harmful chemicals causing inflammation to worsen, but also successfully helps in preventing the growth of harmful proteins responsible for wearing down cartilage of the knee.
Ginger: Ginger contains active compounds that stop the body from producing inflammatory substances that add to inflammation in the joints.
BACK PAIN? 5 SIGNS IT#S ARTHRITIS
If you think arthritis is a disease of older adults only, think again. That persistent backache that you’ve attributed to pulled muscles or neck strain may very well be osteoarthritis, the most common kind of osteoarthritis no matter what your age. In fact, osteoarthritis of the spine, also called SPONDYLOSIS, affects 15% of all
adults. While it’s most common in those over age of 45, it affects many younger adults as well, often triggered by a work, accident, or sports related injury. For reasons experts don’t yet understand, women typically experience more severe chronic pain from spinal arthritis than men do.
According to doctors, X-ray screening of the spine will uncover degenerative arthritic changes in 95% of people over the age of 50 yet not all will have back pain, at least not right away. That’s because it depends on where and how the wear and tear affects the structure of the spine and whether the nerves and the disc between the vertebrae become involved.
When spinal arthritis does affect the nerves and disks, the result can be persistent, excruciating pain that profoundly affects mobility and quality of life. And when your back hurts, you’ll do just about anything to feel better. In 2005, the Journal of the American medical Association reported that Americans spent $85.9 billion seeking relief. Luckily, if you do have arthritis, new treatment options are becoming available. Here are five tell-tale signs that your back pain is caused by arthritis.
- Pain that comes on gradually and worsens over time: Typically, back pain that’s not osteoarthritis comes on suddenly and results in an excruciating attack may leave you immobilized but gradually improves as the underlying problem heals. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may start with a twinge here, a twinge there and before you know it you have a backache almost every day.
What it feels like: Acute pain or overall achiness in one or more parts of your back pain due to osteoarthritis may come and go; you may feel better a few weeks or months, and then the pain comes back worse than before.
Why it happens: The cartilage between the vertebrae wears down, causing the bones to rub against each other. With less cushioning between the vertebrae, the joints become inflamed. Often, as the components of the spine wear down, the intervertebral disc wear down too. For this reason, patients with osteoarthritis often also have degenerative disc disease, and a compressed disc can cause a sudden onset of pain. Many people don’t experience pain until the bones or other structures of the back put pressure on or pinch the spinal cord or the nerve roots that emerge from the spinal cord, which is why the pain may come and go.
- Stiffness and limited range of motion: If you feel stiff and achy when you get out of bed in the morning, it’s often a sign of osteoarthritis rather than sore muscles or a disc problem.
What it feels like: Your back feels stiff and unbending but becomes more flexible as the day goes on. When you bend over or arch your back, it may trigger more severe pain. Certain activities, such as sports, yoga, or dance may become more difficult. You may notice that the stiffness is less and range of motion improves with stretching and exercise. You may also notice “migrating” sore muscles that recur in different areas. It may feel like one shoulder is sore one day, your neck the next, the other shoulder a week later.
Why it happens: Over time, degeneration of the joints of the spine causes inflammation around the joints. Your body doesn’t want the joints to move, because when they move they rub against each other. So your back compensates by stiffening. One of the factors that can lead to a missed diagnosis of arthritis of the spine is that people often compensate for the stiffness by using different muscles, which in turn can become sore from overuse.
- Neck pain that radiates into the head and shoulders: A pulled muscle in the neck or shoulder typically affects one localized area you may even be able to touch or pinch the muscle and feel that it’s swollen. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may affect the cervical or thoracic spine, causing pain to be felt upward and outward.
What it feels like: Upper back or neck pain that radiates upward into the neck and base of the skull. Some people begin to experience chronic headaches that they attribute to tension headaches. It may hurt in one specific area, moving from spot. You may notice that your neck feels tingly or numb.
Why it happens: Two things may be happening here. Bothe your muscles and nerves may be affected. Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion may cause you to use different muscles that you typically woul not,, causing tension, muscle strain, and soreness throughout the neck and shoulders. Nerves may also be irritated by pressure from bony spurs, called osteophytes that form along the cervical spine, which is the uppermost third of the spine that includes the neck. Nerve pain can cause severe pain and stiffness of the shoulders and neck and can move upward into the base and back of the skull.
- Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands and fingers: some people confuse carpal tunnel syndrome with arthritis of the spine because some of the symptoms can be similar. A loss of sensation or stiffness in the wrists, hands and fingers may feel pain all the way down your arm or in one specific place, such as your wrists and it may come and go.
Why it happens: Inflammation and bony overgrowth of the cervical and thoracic spine can impinge upon and irritate spinal nerves, causing numbness, stiffness, and tingling and reducing sensation and motor control in the arms, hands and fingers.
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs: A feeling of numbness or tingling that radiates down the buttocks and into the legs is typical of osteoarthritis of the spine as it progresses.
What it feels like: You might notice a lack of sensation in your legs, as if they’re numb or asleep. Your legs might also feel weak or as if they’re cramping or bucking. In worst-case scenarios, people develop balance problems or have trouble walking. Loss of bladder control is also possible, though less common.
Why it happens: Over time, wear and tear can cause the spinal canal– the opening inside each vertebra where the spinal cord passes through to become narrower. When this narrowing becomes significant (a condition known as spinal stenosis), It can pinch or compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots that emerge from the spinal cord, leading to pain and numbness that radiates down the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. Disc compression or injury, often occurring at the same time or as a result of arthritis, can also cause pain, known as sciatica, which radiates down the legs.
Five ways to prevent your Heart
Are you so concerned about heart disease and the probability of death from heart disease, you can take steps to lower your risks of heart disease and consequent death. Here are ways to lower your risks:
Get Annual Check-ups: One of the best ways to learn whether your heart’s at risk is to have your doctor check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels every year. If you have high blood pressure or high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the kind that clogs arteries)and low levels of high density lipoprotein(HDL)cholesterol(the kind that puts the brakes on LDL), you’re more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, which could lead to heart attack or stroke.
Lower your Pressure: High blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart and arteries, and ultimately, can provoke a heart attack.
Consider Aspirin: Aspirin helps prevent blood from clotting and thereby protects against the most common cause of heart attacks: blockages in the arteries. Cardiologists generally agree that taking regular doses of aspirin is good idea if the following is true:
- You’ve already had a heart attack
- You have high blood pressure
- You have a high level of cholesterol in your blood stream
- You’re diabetic.
Lower doses of aspirin, usually (75mg-81mg) recommended.
Reduce the Stress: Eliminating stress in your life will not only make you happier but healthier. Happy mood keeps your immunity strong.