Friday, July 5, 2013

An Introduction to Arthritis

If your joints are painful after a mild workout or you find it difficult to move in the morning, you may have arthritis. However, if you know what you should do about it, you need not worry.

Know that one of the first symptoms of arthritis is pain and stiffness- especially in the morning and after exercise. There are many different types of Arthritis, however in this article we will talk about the two most common types -- osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative arthritis. The impact of it is felt on the weight bearing joints, hips, knees and back. It also frequently occurs in the joints of the hand and knuckles. Osteoarthritis is the deterioration of the cartilage that protects the ends of bones. It is mostly caused due to wear and tear from ageing, diet and lifestyle, though sometimes it may occur due to injury. This type of arthritis rarely occurs before age 40, and affects nearly everyone over 60 years.

Rheumatoid arthritis can start at any age, including childhood. It is caused by physical or emotional stress,
poor nutrition, bacterial infections, or genetics. It is an inflammation disorder of the immune system. That means it is a 'self-attacking-self' disease. It happens when the body's immune system improperly identifies the synovial membrane as a foreign substance. Consequently, the joint swells up, and damages the cartilage and tissues around the joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis is determined by using a combination of medical tests. While a blood test will indicate the probability of the presence of the disease, X-rays, MRI scans and bone scans are used to visualize the joints to check the severity and progression of arthritis.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the doctors have a wide variety of treatment options to slow the progression and maintain mobility. They choose the one that promises the best results depending on other aspects of the patient's health.

Arthritis is not a new disease and much research has been done and is still being done to find a cure. This ongoing research is financed by The Arthritis Society. They track research trials and the latest breakthroughs on the medical front. They publish these latest finding on their website, as well as in their newsletter. If you have arthritis, you might want to research their website.

Alternate medicines have been found to be quite beneficial for arthritis. This includes physical therapy, whirlpool treatments, thermotherapy (moist heat), and joint exercises are used to increase mobility and prevent complications. Cold gel packs can relieve the pain of inflamed joints. A hot morning shower will often relieve morning stiffness.

You can reduce inflammation through certain foods in a natural way. For instance, a daily dose of 20 tart red cherries or fresh pineapple can relieve pain and inflammation. If you add asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions to your diet, you will be able to help your body repair and rebuild bone and cartilage. Other beneficial foods include leafy green vegetables, non-acidic fresh fruits, oatmeal, brown rice and fish.

You also need to watch out for allergies; they can trigger inflammation, and aggravate arthritis symptoms. So, if you have neck and back pain you must eliminate certain foods that you are allergic to.

Of course, there is nothing like regular, moderate exercise, such as walking or swimming for reducing pain and slowing the deterioration of joints. If you have excess weight, you need to work on it but when doing in any strenuous physical activity, remember to take rest in between so that you keep your strength, without damaging your joints.

Finally, when you see the first symptoms of arthritis, make an appointment with your doctor to find out for sure. Don't ignore it or wait for surer signs. You might wait too long; the sooner you take care of your joints the better.

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