Motionally Challenged - Arthritis
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Arthritis and joint pain are the #1 and #2 reasons cited for doctor’s visits. Arthritis affects 54.4 million US adults, more than 1 out of 4. It is a major cause of work disability in the United States and one of the most common chronic conditions in the nation. These numbers will only increase unless we understand the disease and take action for prevention and care.
Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint and surrounding tissue often resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Symptoms may come and go and can range from mild, moderate, to severe. Severe arthritis can make daily life difficult as chronic pain disables a person to do simple tasks like climbing a flight of stairs or walking. It can also cause permanent joint changes and deformity.
Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Marked by the chronic breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage is the rubbery cushion on the surface ends of your bones. When it starts to wear away due to old age or injury, this causes bone to rub on bone leading to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Genetic factors, old age, being overweight, and physical injury all contribute to disease manifestation. Joint replacement may be necessary if the quality of life is greatly affected.
RA is a type of inflammatory arthritis. Our immune system is in place to protect our bodies from foreign invaders. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of an infection and prevent disease. Sometimes this system goes awry and mistakenly attacks our joints, causing erosion and pain. This type of uncontrolled inflammation can damage our internal organs and other parts of the body. Although the cause of disease is unknown, researchers believe genetic and environmental factors can trigger autoimmunity.
When a bacterium, fungus, or virus enters a joint and triggers inflammation. Salmonella and shigella are examples of such organisms that can infect a joint. Blood transfusions or shared needles contaminated with a virus such as Hepatitis C can increase the risk of developing infectious arthritis. In many cases, treatment with antibiotics can clear the joint infection but sometimes the condition may become chronic.
Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down purine from the foodstuff we ingest. Some people have higher uric acid levels because their bodies produce more than is needed and can’t get rid of it quickly enough. Uric acid levels will increase when the body is unable to eliminate adequate amounts. When uric acid levels are excessively high, uric acid builds up forming crystals in the joint resulting in a gout attack. This causes extreme and often debilitating joint pain. Gout can come and go and is often triggered by certain foods high in purine.
Foods to avoid for Gout:
Organ meat – kidney, liver
Red meat – lamb, beef, pork
Seafood – shellfish, tuna, sardines, anchovies, mussels, scallops, trout
Sugary foods or beverages
So far there is no true way to prevent this disease. If you are female and have a family history of arthritis you are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Maintaining a healthy weight, getting restful sleep, being smoke-free, and eating a healthful diet full of fruits, vegetables, and wholesome grains will at least ensure your body is getting the nutrition and rest it needs to function properly. Lead an active lifestyle to maintain your joint function and mobility.
Depending on what form of arthritis you have, your doctor may prescribe any or a combination of the following.
Analgesics – These medications reduce pain but have no anti-inflammatory effects (Ex: Tylenol, Perocet, Oxycontin)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) – These medications reduce pain and inflammation. OTC NSAIDS include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB). Some NSAIDS are available in topical creams or gels.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – Treats rheumatoid arthritis by slowing or stopping your immune system from attacking your joints. (Ex: Plaquenil, Trexall)
Biologic response modifiers – Often used in conjunction with DMARDs. They are biologic response modifiers that target certain protein molecules that are involved in the immune response. (Ex: Remicade, Enbrel)
Corticosteroids – Reduces and suppresses the immune system. Can be taken orally or injected directly into the joint capsule. (Ex: Cortisone, Prednisone)
Your doctor may suggest surgery if conservative measures don’t help or reduce the pain.
Acupuncture – fine needles are inserted on the body to reduce pain, activate blood circulation, and reduce inflammation
Massage – kneading of muscles to increase blood flow and warm affected joints to relieve pain
Yoga or Tai Qi – slow stretching movements that may help improve joint flexibility and range of motion
Glucosamine – may benefit the health of your cartilage
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One of our key ingredients is Clematis Root (Wei Ling Xian), widely known in Chinese medicine to treat rheumatism and arthritis. Studies have found this herb to have powerful anti-inflammatory response and shows significant chondroprotective (cartilage) effects.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease