Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rheumatism and Arthritis - What's the Difference?

Rheumatism and arthritis are two bone and muscle diseases that people refer to almost interchangeably. Generally speaking, most people do not really see the difference. After all, both diseases manifest the same symptoms of recurring pain in joints and muscles. While both conditions can sometimes be unbearably painful and afflict older men and women, they are in fact different.

Rheumatism does not refer to a single disease or condition, but to over a 100 conditions based on the location and characteristics of the symptoms. For many years, rheumatism was the generic term used to describe various painful medical conditions related to bones, muscles, joints and tendons, until doctors began to use the term arthritis to describe joint-related ailments.

By definition, arthritis is a disease of the bone joints, where two or more bones come together and connect. When joints begin to show signs of redness, tenderness, and sensitivity to pain, then you are likely to be experiencing arthritis. Rheumatism, on the other hand, affects not just joints, but also bones, ligaments and other vital organs of the body, including heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. In this context, all arthritis types are forms of rheumatism, while rheumatism is not always arthritis.

The cure and treatment for different types of arthritis or rheumatism depends on certain conditions. Doctors underscore the need for specific treatment for specific cases of arthritis and rheumatism. After all, the different types of arthritis and rheumatism are triggered by many factors, including food, allergens, genetics, and obesity. Among the most common types of rheumatic diseases are ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia, lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, polymyalgia rheumatica, bursitis, tendinitis, vasculitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and complex regional pain syndrome.

On the other hand, the most common cases of arthritis, an ailment characterized by joint related pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage, are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, infectious arthritis, gout and pseudogout. Just like rheumatism, each type of arthritis requires a separate and distinct treatment. Despite these distinctions, people continue to use the terms interchangeably. Such a lack of knowledge has potentially painful, if not dangerous, consequences for arthritic and rheumatic sufferers, whose best chances to stop the progression of both diseases are when they are just starting to manifest the painful symptoms.

Arthritis and rheumatism inflict the most pain on people who fail to recognize the cause of their affliction and, therefore, are unable to immediately follow the doctor's advice to control both diseases through a balanced, low-uric acid and high-fiber diet, regular exercise, and medication.

Arthritis Treatment: New Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Guidelines for 2012

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis affecting between approximately two million Americans. It is a systemic, chronic, autoimmune driven disorder that affects not only joints but internal organs as well. The disease has been associated with a significant mortality causing people affected by the disease to die 7-10 years before people who do not have RA. Also, it is associated with significant morbidity, meaning patients will suffer a loss of independence as well as the ability to continue to pursue gainful employment.

A prior set of guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology in 2008 laid out treatment recommendations and guidelines for starting and switching medications.

However, these guidelines were formulated before complete knowledge as to the effect of newer drugs on disease course was fully appreciated. Those of us in practice, of course, felt these guidelines were antiquated even as they were released.

The newer guidelines deal with new discoveries and also make recommendations about how to use biologic drugs in high risk patients. As a result, I think these guidelines do make more sense and support the treatment approach that most private practitioners already follow.

The key point that the authors made was that low disease activity or even remission should be the goal of treatment. This is a critical point. It is now possible to get most patients with RA into remission.

One of the major changes from the 2008 guidelines was the emphasis on more aggressive treatment in patients with early RA that is - the first 6 months of disease onset. The recommended change to more intensive early therapy is necessary since more aggressive early treatment can provide better outcomes.

It's no secret that early diagnosis and treatment makes a huge difference in patient outcome.

Since joint damage in RA is irreversible, prevention of damage is an important goal. In addition to the obvious joint issues, preservation of physical function and health-related quality of life is important in order to limit the likelihood of disability.

To that end, they recommend early institution of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy, drugs that slow the rate of progression of RA. Examples would be medicines like methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). Biologic drugs should be added quickly if DMARD therapy does not appear to be working effectively. Biologic drugs include the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi), or infliximab (Remicade). Non TNF biologics include abatacept (Orencia), tocilizumab (Actemra), or rituximab (Rituxan).

One other point: Biologics should not be combined since there is no increase in efficacy but there is an increase in side effects.

Finally, when I consider how far we've come with our approach to RA since I began practice in 1981, the difference is both astounding as well as gratifying.

Psoriatic Arthritis and Its Useful Treatment For Fast Recovery

We can say, there is no certain or permanent cure for psoriasis. But many treatments are available, including topical, i.e. creams applied on skin, phototherapy, and some oral medicines and injections which can help in controlling psoriasis. Most are mild and can be treated properly with skin products. But sometimes it can be very hard to cure if it is stark and widespread. Mostly psoriasis returns, though being in mild form even. The reason of treatment is to lessen down the rapid growth of our skin cells that enhances psoriasis and to reduce swelling too.

Treatment basically relies on the type of psoriasis someone have, its severity, its location, and patients' age and also overall health. It also sometimes depends on how much one is affected by this condition, physically (because joint pain etc.) or emotionally (because of embarrassment or frustration from a skin disease that covers a very large or visible area of one's body). Methotrexate is an effective drug for both the cutaneous and peripheral articular materialization of psoriasis. It may also benefit us in both of the cutaneous and peripheral articular disease.

Ulfasalazine, a drug, can benefit the peripheral joints, but has no remarkable impact upon the cutaneous disease. yclosporin A may affect for both of these disease, but caution must be taken seriposlu because 21% of patients taking this may develop hypertension and even some other disease. Still some medication and treatment have been found to be effective and well tolerated in the treatment of both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Medication somehow matches in Pustular psoriasis, which is not a commonly found form of the disease. People affected with this have raised bumps on the skin which are totally filled up with pus (pustules).

The skin which is under and even around these bumps is full of pus and red. Large portions of the patients' skin redden. It is also a severe and chronic type disease just like normal psoriasis. Though it affects men and women in an equal ratio, but it's found more in boys than girls during childhood. People with the generalized form of this type of psoriasis are generally admitted to the hospital and it's taken care that they have adequate fluid intake and proper bed rest and also they don't lose too much of heat or have too much of strain on their heart. Bland compresses are normally applied on the skin, and saline water (saltwater) solutions and oatmeal baths help to help and heal affected areas of body. In children with this pustular psoriasis, this treatment is actually all that is always needed. At more problematic case, the three basic psoriasis treatment ways that are, topical therapy, phototherapy and systemic therapy can be used, may be together or alone. Their treatment can be complicated and little bit expensive in most cases but this thing varies from case to case.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Herbal Remedies, Causes and Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic or whole body disorder particularly affecting the synovial joints. It may however affect major organs and tissues as well. The root cause of the disorder is still unknown, but it has been noticed by experts that autoimmunity plays a leading role in the progression and development of the disorder. Thus it is often grouped as an autoimmune disorder. When rheumatoid attacks a synovial joint, it actually causes inflammation of the synovium, the membrane secreting synovial fluid. This further causes the development of pannus in the synovium, and enlargement of synovial cells, thereby leading to excess production of synovial fluids.

As the disease progresses, total damage of articular cartilage and ankylosis of joints occur. Apart from synovial joints, rheumatoid may inflict organs like kidney, lungs, heart and blood vessels, also the subcutaneous tissue under skin. It should be checked at the inception, or else it may lead to total loss of mobility or permanent disability. It is common among youths, and females are more attacked by rheumatoid than men. Smaller joints like fingers, wrists, cervical spine etc generally fall prey to rheumatoid arthritis, and the attack of the disorder takes place in a symmetrical pattern. The pain associated with rheumatoid worsens early in the morning just after waking up from sleep, and restricts activity for quite some time.


The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a subject of research all over the world. Researchers have suspected heredity or genes to be a factor promoting the disease. Also it has been assumed that any infection due to bacteria, virus or fungi, or any other environmental factor like smoking tobacco serves as a stimulant or catalyst making the immune system hyperactive. The hyperactive immune system gets misdirected, and invades the body's own healthy tissues, thereby causing inflammation in the affected area.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

1. Excruciating muscle and joint ache
2. Swelling of joints
3. Stiffness of joints
4. Redness of skin around the affected joint
5. Joint tenderness
6. Low grade fever
7. Fatigue
8. Loss of appetite
9. Anemia
10. Hoarseness of voice
11. Shortness of breathing
12. Chest pain
13. Dryness in mouth
14. Lumps under skin or rheumatoid nodules

Timely aggressive diagnosis of the disorder is necessary. It may be done through blood tests such as rheumatoid factor test, X-rays.

Rumatone Gold Capsules and Massage Oil are breakthrough herbal ayurvedic formula to combat rheumatoid arthritis. A regular course of these supplements for 2 months provides lasting relief from the symptoms of rheumatoid.

Treat Your Arthritis With Miraculous Homeopathy

Skeleton, the body frame, the attached muscles, ligaments and sheaths form the basic structure of human beings. So, the disorders associated with these parts form the biggest malady in human beings.

Back: There is a statistical record that the disorders of back are the commonest cause of sickness related absence from work. Back problems can be roughly divided into:

1) Disorders related to vertebral column

2) disorders related to spinal musculature.

How Homoeopathy helps?

Homoeopathic remedies help to tackle the root cause of the disorder. They alleviate the pain as well as prevent further damage to the stressed ligaments, muscles and bones.

In cervical spondylosis, there is spinal disc degeneration in cervical, i.e., neck region. The symptoms may include neck pain, giddiness etc. Remedies like Rhus tox, Lachananthes, Gelsemium, etc. along with certain neck exercises can avoid inconvenient neck belts.

In case of lumbago (low back pain) one must rule out spinal pathology, kidney stones, white discharge in women due to pelvic inflammatory disease, prostate pathologies and chronic fatigue syndrome or paraspinal musculitis. The treatment must be directed to tackle the cause. For example, women who have undergone caesarean section with spinal anaesthesia often complain of lumbago (low back pain). Remedies like Hypericum, Ledum pal etc. help them to get rid of it. Other remedies like Sepia, kali carb, Rhus tox, Arsenicum album, Lucopodium etc. help to relieve lumbar pathologies.

Arthritis of various joints: Arthritis is an inevitable degenerative process that affects various joints with age.

1) Shoulder pain: Though there can be various causes of shoulder pain, the most common are traumatic, degenerative or inflammatory in origin. Remedies like Ferrum met, Sanguinaria, Arnica, etc. are helpful particularle in shoulder pain.

2) Hand and wrist pain: Remedies like Ruta, Actea spicata, Kalmia, etc. act particularly in wrist pathologies.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that mainly occurs as a result of aging process. It affects different joints including hip, knee, joints of hand, etc. There is aching type of pain usually provoked by the use of the joint. As the disease progresses, there can be limitation of movements and in later stages, there can be deformities.

Homoeopathic medicines like Ruta, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox, etc, act in 3 steps.

1) Alleviate pain

2) Arrest further progress of the disease and

3) Revert the pathology to certain extent. (Depending upon the individual response to drugs)

In Rheumatoid arthritis, RA factor, i.e., rheumatoid factor is positive. If it is an early rheumatoid arthritis, Homoeopathic remedies are capable of curing it completely. In later stages when deformities set in, Homoeopathic remedies arrest further damage and revert them to some extent. At least with these remedies, without any side effects, patients can carry out day-to-day activities without any hassles!

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms: Listen To Your Body

What happens if you don't pay attention to the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that you feel? It doesn't matter how old you are or what you have going on in your life. Paying attention to the problem at hand, which has to do with your health, is incredibly important. If you don't take care of your arthritis pain, you could find yourself unable to do the things that you are worrying so much about right now. Do you know what the symptoms of arthritis are? If so, you should also know why its important to listen to your body so that the worst of the complications from the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms you face can be avoided.

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are in fact fairly simple. For starters, you are likely to feel pain. The pain is likely to be in joints throughout your body. The most common places for this pain to be in is the smaller joints in your body including your fingers and feet, but it can be felt anywhere. You are also likely to feel aching in those joints from movement. For some, moving your joint after it has been sitting for a few minutes will cause soreness and pain.

In addition to those symptoms, you are likely to experience swelling in the joints which is caused by the inflammation there. The amount of swelling and pain that you have is an indication of just how severe your condition is. Those that have extreme levels of pain are often facing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that are advanced. That can lead to a very urgent need to seek out help. When the symptoms progress, you may have loss of range of motion in that joint that may lead to deformity. You may notice this in knuckles that are no longer aligned or in swollen knees.

The Complications That You Face

As your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms progress, you are likely to see increased amounts of pain and discomfort. The stiffness that you feel can also lead to fatigue in the muscles of that area of your body, which can ultimately limit the use that you can use them for. In addition, some patients end up facing depression from the loss of quality of life that they are used to. But, they don't stop there. Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop osteoporosis and some may develop a heart condition that some believe is caused by the arthritis itself. They believe that the inflammation of your joints can cause your arteries and the tissue of your heart to become affected.

Probably the last part of the process of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms is that you will find yourself unable to use that joint any longer because the pain and deformity has removed that from you. For some, that means being in a wheelchair and for others that means a treatment like joint replacement. In either case, there are risks that can be important to consider. But, if you listen to your body and get the help you need for the arthritis that you feel, you can severely slow the progression of the condition and even restore some of the motion you need.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Can Osteoarthritis Be Prevented With Omega-3 Fish Oil?

If you have a family history of osteoarthritis then you have a higher chance of developing the disease yourself. Besides genetic predisposition, osteoarthritis can be present in those who are overweight or those who routinely put stress on the particular joint. Injury is also a culprit.

Osteoarthritis affects the joints in the body, most commonly the spine, hips, knees, feet and hands. It is caused by the wearing down of cartilage between these joints, causing bones to rub together. This causes discomfort and a decrease in mobility to the area.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 21 million people in the United States. It can be caused by a number of factors. While it is more frequently found in those over 45, it can occur in younger people. Under 45, men are more likely to develop the disease than women, while over 45 women are more likely to develop it than men.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the onset of the disease, and it's easier than you think. It's about taking care of your body, which hopefully you're doing already as good health is the key to combating any form of disease, as well as education.

If you are overweight you are far more likely to develop osteoarthritis than someone who isn't. This is because the extra weight puts unnecessary stress on the joints. Keeping in shape also helps to prevent many other diseases, such as heart disease.

Keep fit, not only to keep your weight in healthy range but also to work your joints. Aerobic exercises that work as much of your body are especially important; they revitalize your circulatory system and keep your heart rate up, as well as keep your joints limber. Make sure not to over exert yourself, especially if you feel pain in a joint, as this may only cause to exacerbate the condition you are trying to prevent. Discuss with your doctor what kinds of exercises are best for you. Osteoarthritis in the hands is the most genetically predispositioned form of the disease, so if you are at risk ask your doctor if there is anything you can do.

Injury to the joints can also cause the onset of osteoarthritis. Be sure to wear protective gear, like wrist guards for instance, when deemed necessary.

There have been some foods and supplements that have been reported to decrease your chances of getting the disease. While some initial results have proved encouraging, studies are still continuing for conclusive results. None of the supplements have been reported to carry side effects though, and are part of a healthy lifestyle.

An anti-inflammatory is just what you're looking for. Anti-inflammatory properties can be found in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish like salmon or albacore tuna. Since our North American diet is severely lacking in fish on a regular basis, try an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

Early detection is important. If you feel a recurring pain in your joints, or a stiffness that won't go away, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you find the best way to deal with the pain.

Natural Ways to Treat Arthritis

Any person who suffers from arthritis, or knows someone that does, is very aware of the discomfort and pain connected to arthritis and how difficult it can be to deal with it. These unfortunate people invariably try to relieve their suffering through use of over-the-counter treatments and medications. Even though these medications do help, there are alternative natural ways that are safe to treat arthritis.

A natural remedy is consuming raw juices - highly recommended are potato and green juices (for many years potato juice has provided relief to arthritis suffers). To prepare potato juice, thinly slice a potato leaving the skin on, put and leave the slices in a glass of cold water for a number of hours (better overnight) and then drink this juice.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (present in most fish species) also help in treating arthritis. People who don't eat fish can take supplements containing Omega 3 Fatty Acids that can be purchased at health and drug stores. Omega 3 Fatty Acids offer relief from all arthritis forms but the most noticeable results are amongst rheumatoid arthritis suffers.

An effective and easy treatment is the massaging of warm olive oil over areas affected by arthritis (make sure it is not too hot as painful burns to the skin can result). Rosemary, sage or garlic can be added to olive oil - dilute at approximately ten parts olive oil to one part of the chosen additive. Relief is felt soon after application to the affected area.

Taking warm baths can offer relief from the discomfort and pain caused by arthritis as cold bathes may increase pain and discomfort. Many people also add Epson salts to warm bathwater - about three to four tablespoons. When taking such a bath make sure to stay in the water for a minimum of thirty minutes.

Limited exercise can also help with pain relief. Arthritis suffers should be cautious when exercising and must avoid over exertion which can exacerbate pain and discomfort. Simple exercises like walking, squeezing a stress ball, etc. are often effective.

Stop Waiting To Die - What To Do When You're Diagnosed With An Incurable Disease

Almost six years ago I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease in which an overactive immune system attacks the interstitial lung tissue, leaving fibrotic scars. There is no known cause for most forms of this disease; the treatment is rarely effective; and the life expectancy is somewhere around three to five years. Unlike patients who undergo other organ transplants, patients who elect lung transplants only have an average life expectancy of three to five years after transplantation.

My initial reaction to my diagnosis was to basically ignore it. I do not have any fear of death. I had a great career as a corporate employee relations manager for a company in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 list. My income was high; my two sons are grown and well-employed.

My plan was to work until I dropped - literally. I joked about how they'd probably find me slumped over my computer one morning. Of course, at the time, it didn't occur to me that as my disease progressed, my ability to work would be affected. And shortly after the diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, my joints began to ache. Referred to a rheumatologist, I was informed I also had developed another auto-immune disease, psoriatic arthritis.

Between taking medication to try and slow down the progression of the lung disease, and medication to stem the progression and pain of the arthritis, I was downing handfuls of pills a day. But nothing was getting better, or even staying the same. Every month my energy waned a little more as my lung capacity dropped and my joints swelled.

When reality finally sunk in, my pulmonologist signed the paperwork, putting me on permanent disability. There was no question about getting disability benefits. My illness was so critical, neither the Social Security Administration nor my long-term disability carrier questioned the fact that I am in fact disabled. Everyone else seemed to know I was disabled before I did.

What Do You Do With The Rest Of Your Life

"What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Those words jumped out at me from an engraved paperweight in a Christmas catalog.

Think about all the things you'd love to do but don't because you think you'd be a disaster at it. What did you want to be when you were a child - other than a fireman or a movie star. When you daydream, what are you doing in that altered state.

When I saw that paperweight the first thing that came to my mind was drawing and painting. For some reason, the idea of drawing portraits became an obsession. I kept thinking about it day after day. The holidays were coming up and I asked a friend for some sketch pads, drawing pencils, and an instruction book - something like "Drawing for the Totally Incompetent Artist" if there is such a title.

I started drawing that Christmas Day. In retrospect, my first attempts were pretty pathetic but they looked like people and that was a great rush for me. Three months later, I conceded that I could no longer do the job I was hired to do and decided to take disability voluntarily before the powers that be informed me I needed to find the front door. I was still drawing, almost every day.

Find People Who Share Your Interests

If you're seriously ill, the last thing you need is to sit alone, thinking about the fact that you're going to die. First of all, everyone is going to die. Second, you're still alive so do something about it. Nurture friendships with people who share your interests. A support group of people with the same or similar illnesses is okay but don't limit yourself to being with other sick people. If you have a passion for drawing as I did, find other people who want to draw.

When I stopped working I mentioned at my church group that I'd started drawing. Several women who were homemakers and had lots of free time during the workweek, told me they painted once a week. They invited me to join them. And we didn't just draw and paint; we talked, we lunched, we laughed and had a great time. And four years after leaving the workplace, I'm still drawing, painting (I've fallen in love with pastels), lunching and even laughing.

Keep Looking For New and Exciting Adventures Your Illness Can Tolerate

If you've always been active, one hobby or interest may not be enough to keep you turned on to life. Keep your mind open to new ideas, new people and new adventures.

When I started drawing and painting, life seemed to perk up, as did my spirits. But again, my type A personality needed more. Recently, during a painting group session, one of my friends mentioned that an artist friend had put up a website. The site had clothes, accessories and gifts that you could have printed with your own art or photography and sell online.

The minute I got home, I looked up Photography has been a serious part of my adult life and I've sold my work in California, Oregon and Washington. I could immediately visualize how my work would look on the clothes and gifts from CafePress. Within a week, I had opened up an online store.

Suddenly, the pain which now requires multiple doses of powerful narcotics each day is at least bearable. I'm too busy updating my inventory, taking new photos, and networking online to focus on my stiffening lungs or my achy joints. Yes, the pain is still there and yes, I still need pain medication; but now I have something productive to distract me and keep me engaged in the business of living.

Let Others Have Low Expectations; Keep Yours High

One thing I learned pretty quickly is that when you're critically ill, people have low expectations for what you can do. They really don't expect you to do much more than sit like a lump, staring out the window.

Well, that's fine. Let them have their expectations. How much fun to blow them out of the water by turning your life into a final spurt of creative energy. And when you're gone, they'll just see your smoke and say, "Wow, she went out with a blast!"

Beginning an Exercise Program While Suffering From Arthritis

Before starting any exercise, people with arthritis need to consult their doctors about the extent of physical exertions allowed them. Most doctors are likely to recommend exercise, and advise their patients to start off with simple range-of-motion exercises and low-impact aerobics. Arthritic sufferers can engaged in selected sports and exercise regimens. Doctors will usually warn against participating in sports which are dangerous or have proven negative effects on arthritis.

Your doctor is a good source of advice on how to begin an exercise program. You can also ask an experienced physical therapist to design a routine beneficial for arthritic conditions. These types of programs usually focus on:

  • relieving pain

  • correct body positioning

  • joint preservation

  • conservation of physical energy

Checklist: Getting Started on Arthritic-Related Exercises:

· Present your chosen exercise regimen to your doctor for approval.

· Begin under the direct supervision of your physical therapist or a professional athletic trainer.

· Treat sore joints with a hot compress (non-compulsory; although many arthritis sufferers start out their exercise in this manner).

· Warm up and stretch (range-of-motion exercises).

· Use 1 to 2 pound weights for strength training.

· Make movements slow and gradual.

· Apply cold compress after exercise (non-compulsory; although many arthritis sufferers conclude their program with this).

· Aerobic activity is beneficial for cardiovascular health.

· Cease activities when joint pain starts, or if there is any presence of redness and inflammation. Consult with your doctor about its causes and elimination.

· Opt for an exercise regimen you like and stick with it.

For lower risks of arthritis attacks, try some form of recreational exercise after range-of-motion, strength training and aerobic phases, to bring your body to its most optimum state possible.

Exercise Frequency for Arthritis Sufferers

Range-of-motion exercises - should be performed on a daily basis, or every other day.

Strengthening exercises - at least 3 times a week unless there is joint pain and swelling.

Endurance exercises - at least 3 times a week, a half-hour each time, unless there is joint pain and swelling. The ACR advises performing endurance exercises in 10-minute increments throughout the day.

Current Research on Arthritis and Exercise

At present, studies are being conducted on the most beneficial forms of exercise for:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Spondyloarthropathies

  • Lupus

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Older people

Exercises for the Various Types of Arthritis

As there are many types of the disease, specific exercises that benefit each type of arthritis can be suggested or designed by:

  • experienced physicians

  • physical therapists

  • occupational therapists

There are exercises to relieve pain, exercises prohibited for specific arthritis types and during pain and inflammation of joints. It is advised that any or all exercises should be discussed with a physician. Doctors who are qualified to treat arthritis include:

  • rheumatologists

  • orthopaedic surgeons

  • general practitioners

  • family doctors

  • internists

  • rehabilitation specialist

Recommended Strength Training Exercises

Factors involved in weight training include personal preference, arthritis type, and inflammatory conditions. Training the muscles can help support the joints to decrease pain. These types of exercises usually involve:

  • small free weights

  • exercise machines

  • isometrics

  • elastic bands

  • water exercises for resistance

Assuming the proper body positioning is crucial to prevent:

  • muscle tears

  • pain

  • swelling in the joints

Excessive Exercise

When pain starts during exercise and lasts for more than an hour, your exercise program may be too demanding. Arthritic sufferers should constantly fine-tune their exercises with the help of their doctor or physical therapist, particularly when the exercises cause:

  • uncommon or constant tiredness

  • progressive weakness

  • stiffness or decreased ability to move

  • increase in swelling

  • persistent pain (continuing for more than an hour after completing the exercise program)

From Plaque Psoriasis, Moving Towards Psoriatic Arthritis

Plaque Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious autoimmune skin disease, causing red, scaly patches due to rapid skin cell reproduction. It mainly harms elbow, knee or scalp, but can be spread to any other part. Up to 30% of patients also suffer from inflammation of joints which is called as Psoriatic Arthritis. Several types of psoriatic arthritis include Symmetric arthritis, Asymmetric arthritis, Distal interphalangeal predominant, Spondylitis, Arthritis mutilans.

Though psoriasis can be genetic but it goes worse due to stress, alcohol consumption and smoking. It can occur at any age but mostly it is found in an age group of 15-20 in the beginning. But psoriatic arthritis occurs between ages of 30-50. It is found that, more than 9 million people suffer from these diseases. The psoriasis treatment takes place in three stages basically. If found in mild stage, i.e.- small areas of the body like less than 10% of the total skin surface, then topical (skin applied) creams, lotions, and sprays may be very effective and safe to use.

Occasionally, a small local injection of steroids directly into tough or resistant isolated plaque psoriasis may be helpful. For moderate to severe disease that involves much larger areas of the body (like 20% or more of the total skin surface), topical products may not be effective or practical to apply. So exposing the skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is done. This treatment is generally called as phototherapy. The third stage includes medication through pills or injection which is known as systemic treatment. The three basic traditional systemic medications are methotrexate, cyclosporine and retinoids.

While in Psoriatic arthritis, a localized form of psoriatic arthritis is very mild and usually will affect the two joints. A person may suffer for long time with absolutely no symptoms of disease at all. It normally causes less deformity and leads to long-term disability.

But in "Generalized" disabling psoriatic arthritis, people have 3 or more numbers of affected joints having a higher probability of joint destruction and further disability. When it is not cured by anti-inflammatory medicines, then more virile medications are needed. Some times surgery followed by rehabilitation is badly required to get well soon.

In the UK The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance (PAPAA) has funded research carried out to develop a symptom management programme called Electronic Targeted Intervention for Psoriasis) using a modified Cognitive Behavior Therapy model. This research is on psychological stress, distress and disability in patients with psoriasis. It is a condition for life time that is why called as chronic. Though there is no hundred percent guarantee regarding curability, but various treatments can help to control it. Severe psoriasis carries an increased risk of significant morbidity including skin cancers, lymphoma, liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression. A healthy lifestyle is basically important for people suffering from this disease. Regular exercises, healthy diet, stress reduction and a strong support network help the patients to develop mentally and physically a lot.

Arthritis Treatment: Surgical Treatment Options for the Young Patient With Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis affecting almost 30 million Americans. While traditionally viewed as a disease of older adults, it is quite clear that younger people can also develop significant disease. This is a probably due to a combination of factors including genetics, previous trauma, as well as earlier detection.

While the standard types of conservative treatments may help, some patients do not respond to topical or oral anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, lubricant injections, bracing, and physical therapy.

Weight reduction, activity modification, low impact aerobic exercise, and quadriceps strengthening exercises are also conservative measures that need to be tried.

So what happens if they fail?

Knee arthoscopy has been used by enthusiastic orthopedists for decades. A study in 2008 cast doubt on the efficacy of this procedure for OA. Since that time other studies have also shown that knee arthroscopy is relatively unsuccessful for this condition. Conditions that appear to particularly point towards a poor prognosis with arthroscopy are OA present for more than 2 years, obesity, the presence of large bony spurs, significant joint space narrowing, smoking, and cartilage defects exposing underlying bone.

If alignment of the knee is abnormal, then a procedure called osteotomy is often suggested. With this procedure, the surgeon removes a wedge of bone from the either the femur (upper leg bone) or tibia (the lower leg bone) to help the joint line up better. This is a temporary solution but sometimes successful.

Biological procedures that have been used in younger patients include osteochondral grafting where a bone and cartilage plug is taken from a non-weight-bearing area and plugged into the weight-bearing lesion. Autologous chondrocyte (a patient's own cartilage cells) implantation, and meniscus transplantation, have also been tried. A newer technique where allograft cartilage (donor cartilage) is minced and mixed with a fibrin glue and pasted into the lesion has also been used. All patients have been young with discrete cartilage defects. None have been older with the typical larger defects seen with long-standing osteoarthritis.

Another popular procedure orthopedists use is unicompartmental arthroplasty. This is a procedure where only the narrowed part of the knee is replaced. There is more rapid recovery as well as less blood loss, and fewer complications. The success of this procedure is highly dependent on the experience of the surgeon.

The procedure that appears to be most promising though for younger patients with OA of the knee is guided autologous stem cell layering.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Natural Remedies That Can Change Your Life

It's easy enough to realize that having rheumatoid arthritis can be life changing. The disease causes inflammation in your joints, causing pain and discomfort, and may also cause the joints to become disfigured. This results in a loss of flexibility and mobility in the joint, making you unable to move easily.

While this is one of the more well known symptoms of the disease, it is more than just a disease that attacks the joints of your body. Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disorder - your own immune system is causing the damage to your body. RA may result in anemia, and can also affect your skin, lungs, kidneys and heart. Treatment can sometimes be difficult; some medicines that are effective in slowing the damage sometimes have negative side effects. Because of this, for some of those with the disease, natural remedies become more appealing that conventional drugs and medications.

Changing your lifestyle is one of the available rheumatoid arthritis natural remedies. This involves balancing moderate exercise to relieve stiffness with periods of rest. This will help maintain functionality and mobility of affected joints, as well as generally improving your health. However, if even moderate exercise causes you pain, you should stop exercising and consult with your doctor to find an exercise regimen that you can benefit from.

Changing your diet is another form of rheumatoid arthritis natural remedy. A variety of fasting programs and diets are available, with the goal of making your body healthier in order to combat the disease. Many of these diets have also begun to recommend consuming omega-3 fatty acids like that found in fish oil and fatty deep sea fish. Fish oil is also available in a number of supplements that a person with RA can take.

Aside from changing lifestyle and diet, you can also try herbal remedies. Herbs such as boswellia, devil's claw and horsetail are said to provide relief from the pain. Many times these herbs are available as teas, but may also be found in various food supplements used to treat RA.

There are many other options to treat rheumatoid arthritis with natural remedies. These can range from massage therapy, to meditative techniques, acupuncture and so on. Each have their advantages, though some do offer more immediate relief, and others offer more lasting relief. Many of them can be very effective, though they are best used in conjunction with conventional methods, or other alternative natural remedies. In this manner, you can combine treatments in order to receive better results.

Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis - Defined

Arthritis pain and the options for relieving pain can be very frustrating. According to Gene Hunder, M.D., rheumatology specialist at Mayo Clinic, if joint damage is already evident, the arthritis pain worsens with stressful or repetitive activities to the joints affected. However, if mild joint pain exists a gentle exercise program may be beneficial.

Ankylosing Spondylitis - This arthritis affects the spine, hips, heart, lungs and heels, which is chronic, painful and progressive. Ankylosing spondylitis can eventually cause fusion of the spine in those of genetic predisposition. Typical symptoms affect males between the ages of 15-30 consisting of chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back and fatigue. Children as young as three may experience knee pain often misinterpreted as rheumatisms. Generally, X-ray tests will show indications of any spinal changes and sacroilitiis characteristic to ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis is classified as a systematic rheumatic autoimmune disease, with no known cure available. However, medication, physical therapy and exercise are available to reduce pain, inflammation and symptoms.

Juvenile Arthritis - This arthritis affects children between the ages of 6 months to 16 years. Many of the symptoms are the same as rheumatoid arthritis (see below) and usually the child outgrows juvenile rheumatoid arthritis before reaching adulthood. Medications are available to improve symptoms, which might include a variable fever.

Osteoarthritis - Degenerative arthritis, another name for osteoarthritis affects the joints. The wearing of the cartilage, which acts as a cushion for the joints, causes inflammation and pain. Because the bone surfaces have less protection from the cartilage, walking and standing, or any other weight bearing activity creates pain, but little if any inflammation. Currently this arthritis affects 21 million people within the United States. Because it is, so far anyway, impossible to replace cartilage, there is no cure for Osteoarthritis. The type of pain usually associated with osteoarthritis is described as a sharp ache, or burning sensation in the muscles and tendons associated with the bone. Occasionally when the joint moves or is touched, it will make a crackling noise. Other symptoms noted include muscle spasms, tendon contractions and fluid in the joint. Areas affected by Osteoarthritis are hands, feet, spine, hips, knees and in theory any joint in the body. When knees are affected, they tend to curve outward and usually feel worse the more they are used during the day. This separates osteoarthritis apart from rheumatoid arthritis. On fingers nodes form, but usually are not painful. Bunion formation that may become red or swollen is a common form on the toes. There are two causes of osteoarthritis; Primary, caused by aging where the water content of the cartilage increases and loss of protein composition; Secondary, other diseases or conditions including, but not limited to, obesity, repeated trauma, hormonal disorders, surgery and inflammatory diseases. Because 60% of the population has family members affected by osteoarthritis, this indicates a hereditary condition. X-rays and MRIs, in addition to a physical examination, are the most common techniques used to diagnose osteoarthritis. No matter how severe the osteoarthritis condition, weight control, appropriate rest and exercise and support devices, if necessary are the most beneficial treatments. To relieve pain associated with exercise, apply heat before and cold after for 10-20 minutes each, along with mild pain relievers, if necessary. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove fragments, reposition bones, or bone fusion, which will increase stability.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - This chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder allows the immune system to attacks joints, which is both painful and destructive and may create loss of mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis differs from other forms of arthritis because it attacks the soft-tissue of many joints at the same time and stiffness and pain are worse in the morning, improving with use. Rheumatoid arthritis may lead to joint deformity should joint surfaces erode or become destroyed, such as fingers and assume unnatural shapes. This disorder is more common among women and is genetic. Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are morning stiffness, soft-tissue swelling in three or more joints, arthritis of hand joints, symmetric arthritis, subcutaneous nodules in specific places, radiological changes that suggest joint changes. Blood tests are used to determine if a patient suffers from Rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists do not know what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but suspicions lead to an offending organism causes an immune response that leaves behind antibodies specific to that organism. Though this disease is progressive, regular diet and exercise can ease the symptoms of pain and stiffness associated.

Arthritis dates back as far a 4500 BC when the remains of Indians were found in Tennessee. The first text written is dated 123 AD noting symptoms similar to rheumatoid arthritis.

Feline Arthritis - How to Provide Feline Arthritis Pain Management For Your Cat

Watching your old kitty limp up the stairs drives home the fact that she's not getting younger. She is probably showing signs of feline arthritis and not moving like she used to. Just as with humans, feline aging comes with its share of issues. One of the most common diseases is feline arthritis. This is why additional steps are necessary for feline arthritis pain management.

The bottom line is that feline arthritis is a disease that is centered on the joints. The different types of arthritis cats diseases are bacterial arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It can cause a significant amount of pain, stiffness and swelling. The causes can be due to trauma or infection in the joints, degenerative changes in her skeletal structure and possibly even metabolic disturbances.

Generally, arthritis pain in cats sets in when they reach nine years. However, if you have a three to four year old fatty cat, she may develop osteoarthritis at a younger age. It will vary on the cat, but it doesn't normally start as soon as a 60-pound dog, because larger animals put more stress on their bodies. However, obesity, stress or trauma can bring about this disease sooner than desired.

At first, the arthritis cats symptoms may show up just every now and then. An animal may only limp mildly after it's gone through a lengthy exercise. The stairs may not be as easy as before and jumping efforts fail or are clumsy.

If you have a fat cat, the kindest thing you can do is to control her calorie intake and help her drop some ounces or pounds. Your cat relies on you for proper food habits, so its time to curb the treat and snacks that are fattening up kitty.

Ask you vet about a cat food higher in protein, but lean on fat. This helps keep the excess body fat and weight in check, and there are certain products that fulfill this requirement.

Find a nutritional supplement for your cat that works to decrease joint inflammation brought on by feline arthritis. They stimulate the growth and repair of already damaged cartilage and increase joint fluid development.

At this point, a homeopathic food supplement may prove to be most effective as it is easy to add to your cat's food or water. It is all possible that these supplements will slow down the progression of feline arthritis

If your cat has reached the mid-level stage of arthritis, then it's consistently dealing with feline arthritis pain. It becomes even harder to rise from lying down, and there's noticeable difficulty in jumping and trying stairs.

The development of muscle atrophy could occur in the gluteal and thigh muscles. Treatment should be the same as when you first notice arthritis, but there may be addition of a non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication. These reduce inflammation which reduces joint pain. However, make sure to only use them with the approval of your veterinarian. If your cat progresses to an advanced stage she may require a powerful feline arthritis pain management prescription medication like a steroid drug.

Rheumatoid Arthritis : the time bomb

The beginning is very much hard to spot as we migh just wake up in the morning and feel that the fingers on our hand do not function as they should. A little of bit of movement and everything is fine. However, this morning exercise keeps prolonging as we get to a point where the exercise lasts for the whole day and the joints begin to ache. The walk is not a pleasure anymore and we are not able to hold a cup of coffee without shaking it out.

So this is how it ends. Rheumatoid arthritis is practically unhealable and the condition is very fast the younger the age. Arthritis is usually associated with older people, however, rheumatoid arthritis endangers especially middle aged individuals and it is not usual to see younger aged pacients.

The cause of this disease is yet not specifically know. Arthritis, the infectous inflammation of joints, is a matter of reaction of the organism to internal infection. To illustrate it a bit more, the immunity system goes nuts and attacts its own organism. In case of reumatic arthtritis, the subject of the attack are the joints, especially smaller ones. The disease is healable only if uncovered early.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which is very slow in its progress, undistinguished. Maybe the fact that the start of the disease is so slow and hard to spot compared to other malfunctions, makes it so dangerous. By the time you notice, it is usually already well estabilished and practically unhealable.

Reumatoid arthtritis is the worst case of arthritis there is as the consequences are the hardest to take. It can cause very serious damages to joints and other organs and can lead to invalidity.

There is ten types of arthritis of which the mentioned is the most severe. It attacks woman three times more than man and healing requires attention of many specialists such as rheumatologists, rehabilitation expers, balneologists as well as internists and clinical psychologists.

If you are looking for further health information, there are several resources to use, among those The MedsiteRX Health Directory [] is one of those. For further information please visit the website.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Cure

Rheumatoid arthritis can be defined as a chronic autoimmune disease that results in an inflammation of the joints with marked deformities being a few of the more commonly experienced symptoms. There are a few different forms of rheumatoid arthritis that people will develop, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis which is the particular type of the disease that affects children. Currently there is no full blown rheumatoid arthritis cure.

It might take a bit of trial and error if you are attempting to deal with the pain from rheumatoid arthritis, but keep in mind that certain treatments are known to generally work better and faster than others. When it comes to dealing with your pain, the goal of any treatment will be to reduce any pain and joint inflammation, in order to get you feeling more comfortable so that you can live your day to day life without being in excruciating pain.

Keeping an eye out for the symptoms is also very important if you want to keep your health in check and be sure that you do not let the condition go undiagnosed for long periods of time. This is important since the disease can progressively get worse as time goes on, which will result in you seeing an increase in pain and witnessing more damage done to your bones and joints.

Thankfully there are several different kinds of medication and other effective remedies and treatments that are available and which you can take to help you live your life as normal as possible. If you begin taking some kind of medication, you should expect to wait at least four weeks before being able to see the full results. Do not give up on a medication too early, since it just might be the right one for you, as long as you can give it enough time to work. You should also be prepared to deal with and aware of any potential side effects.

Natural Supplements For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a serious and often crippling condition. While it usually strikes in middle age this disease can also attack young people and leads to stiff, aching or damaged joints. Natural supplements for rheumatoid arthritis can alleviate many of the symptoms of arthritis and even help the body repair damage done to joints.

A condition referred to as a systemic inflammatory disorder Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any part of the body, but usually attacks the joints destroying cartilage. Supplements containing specific vitamins, minerals, and herbs can restore cartilage, reduce inflammation, and increase the flexibility of joints.

An important natural herbal supplement for Rheumatoid arthritis is powdered freeze-dried tissue taken for a type of mollusca called the Green lipped mussel found in New Zealand. Research has found that Green lipped mussel powder inhibits inflammation in the body. Due to this anti-inflammatory element supplements containing this powder are also useful in treating other similar conditions such as psoriasis, and asthma.

Another good supplement for reducing the inflammation and increasing mobility of the joint are Omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are an important factor in the diet since the body needs these to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in salmon, tuna and other seafood, but natural supplements can provide a concentrated daily amount. Researchers have found Omega-3 fatty acids specifically reduced inflammation in joints as well diminished the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Natural supplements for Rheumatoid arthritis will also usually contain essential vitamins and minerals. A deficiency in manganese, copper, and selenium are thought to accelerate the damage done to joints by conditions like arthritis. Vitamin compounds such as the B-6, and B-12 can help relieve the effects of stress and boost the immune system. These supplements offer natural relief from the damage and pain caused by Rheumatoid arthritis.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally

Have you been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? You're not alone - over 2.9 Americans suffer from this disease, and tens of millions suffer worldwide. Yet many are able to effectively manage the illness using natural methods. This article will briefly describe how to treat rheumatoid arthritis naturally!

First of all, receiving an early diagnosis will make a huge impact. This is why it's important to recognize the early signs and symptoms of RA so you can see a medical professional immediately and form a plan of action. The sooner you begin treatment, the more positive the outcome.

Next, one of the biggest issues you'll need to tackle is your diet. Completely eliminating your consumption of saturated fats will go a long way in alleviating your symptoms. This means cutting out red meat, bacon, butter, cream, and any other meat or dairy product high in fat. In fact, many recommend cutting out meat and dairy altogether. You should also avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods, excess salt, MSG, and even night-shade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, etc).

In addition, make sure you become aware of any possible food allergies and eliminate them from your diet immediately. Sometimes people do not realize when they have a food allergy. Common overlooked allergies are to corn, gluten, and dairy products.

Many people learn how to treat rheumatoid arthritis using herbs and vitamins and minerals. Make sure you consume lots of Omega-3 fatty acids, as these act as anti-inflammatory agents. A few herbs, like Boswellia and Devil's Claw, actually provide the same amount of relief as some prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. However, these herbs are relatively harmless and contain no harmful side effects, so they will benefit you much more over the long run.

By utilizing these tips you can effectively learn how to treat rheumatoid arthritis naturally, without having to rely too much on dangerous medications or surgical treatments.

Treatment For Osteoarthritis: Be Aware Of Your Options

Treatment for osteoarthritis will not cure the condition. Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis. This condition can affect the hands, knees, spine, fingers, legs and hips. Osteoarthritis occurs as a result of the cartilage around the joints breaking down, when the bone of the joint is exposed it becomes swollen and inflamed. In some cases of osteoarthritis the cartilage can completely disappear, when this happens bone protrusions can occur, these often look knobbly.

Some symptoms of Osteoarthritis are;

Joint aches and pains,
Mild to extreme stiffness, this occurs after long periods of rest,
Movement difficulties.
Inflammation around the affected area.
Disrupted sleep patterns due to mobility problems during the night.

Treatments for osteoarthritis are only effective in treating the symptoms, no cure for this condition has been discovered. The treatments for this condition will focus on pain and inflammation. There are some natural treatments available for those who would prefer not to use medications. These natural products are equally effective, depending on what you choose to use.

Some treatments for osteoarthritis are;

Mild pain relief such as paracetemol,
Strong pain relief such as codeine,
Anti inflammatory medicines,
Vigorous massage,
Physiotherapy or complimentary therapy,
Vitamin supplements,
Supportive equipment such as a splint.

Any treatment could have possible side effects, if you are experiencing anything unusual speak with your doctor, sometimes prolonged use of painkillers can cause other things to occur.

Some foods that may help with the symptoms of osteoarthritis are;

Cayenne pepper,
Root ginger.

These ingredients can be incorporated in to many different meals. Alternatively you could make a homemade cream using these ingredients, this cream can be eaten or rubbed onto the affected area.

The main treatments for osteoarthritis simply focus on the individual problem areas, so if you suffer more pain than stiffness, it will be recommended that you try a painkiller. If you are extremely stiff you may need physiotherapy. Individual needs do vary so if you are on any type of medication or treatment and you are not noticing any significant changes in your symptoms, you should consult with your doctor.

If you suffer with osteoarthritis and you are slightly overweight it is recommended that you try to lose some of those extra pounds. A persons weight can affect mobility and overall health, by exercising for 30 minutes each day, your joints will be less likely to feel stiff.

A healthy diet is also recommended, regular intake of healthy foods will promote a healthy you. The amount of vitamins that can be ingested are beneficial for strong bones and strength. Diet is often underestimated and it can have numerous benefits.

In extremely severe cases of osteoarthritis the individual may require adaptations to their homes. If you require more information on this your doctor or care giver may be able to assist you.

The treatment for osteoarthritis can be effective for almost everyone, in some cases the treatments given may not help, this will need to be discussed with your care provider.

Ganoderma As an Alternative Treatment For Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition characterized by joint pain and swelling. This disease is commonly manifested by people in the ages of 40 to 60 and is highly predominant among women. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the small joints in the human body such as the hands, feet and wrists. The hallmark symptom would include joint stiffness and swelling in the morning. A person suffering from arthritis may have difficulty in grasping things, writing, walking, dressing, etc.

The use of herbal therapies has long been employed in the Asian regions. Japan, China and India have practiced herbal treatments through the years to cure diseases. Popularly known as reishi or ling zhi, Ganoderma lucidum is a leathery mushroom plant that has been used in Asian medicine for centuries. It is among the Orient's best elixirs. Here are some health benefits of Ganoderma:

• It works systemically through the cell level.
• It strengthens the human body's immunity and thus helps it fight off diseases and other infections.
• It is believed to calm the mind and reduce stress.
• It can be used by individuals on all ages from children to pregnant women.
• It contains anti-aging elements that is helpful for maintaining that youthful glow.

Ganoderma is used as an alternative therapy for arthritis, insomnia, diabetes, gastric ulcers, hypertension and allergic reactions. According to recent studies, Ganoderma has immune modulating and anti-inflammatory properties that is perfect for treating autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorders. Ganoderma is believed to reduce pain and swelling. It also helps modify autoimmune reactions in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Ganoderma lucidum herb has been proven to improve and intensify the alpha and gamma interferon in the body. This can effectively regulate your immune system.

How Ganoderma is used

The herb itself is very bitter and tough. In plain form it is frankly inedible. Because of this, those who want to experience the health benefits of ganoderma can do so in a number of ways be ingested in the body in several ways: via supplements or beverages such as healthy ganoderma coffees and teas. While easiest to buy products that are already ganoderma enriched, there is also a way to make an herb tincture out of boiling the mushroom. Ling zhi mushrooms are commercially available in the market these days in dried powder form, syrup, capsules, tea and tinctures.

You can make your own herb tincture by boiling 翻 ounce of dried Ganoderma mushroom in 3 cups of water. Be sure to chop the mushroom into tiny pieces. Let the chopped mushroom sit in cold water for 3 to 4 hours even before boiling it. Use cold water when soaking the herb to make sure all the nutrients are absorbed properly. Slowly bring the mixture into boil. Let the solution simmer for about 45 minutes and then cool down to adequate drinking temperature. With the use of a metal strainer or coffee filter paper, strain the entire mixture. Be sure to store your Ganoderma herb drink in a covered glass jar inside the refrigerator.

Ganoderma is indeed one of the best options for treating arthritis the natural way!

Knuckle Cracking, Damp Weather, Nightshade Foods and More Arthritis Myths Dispelled

As arthritis is such a common medical problem affecting millions of people all around the world it isn't surprising that a series of myths have emerged which many of us have come to regard as real facts.

It's quite understandable how many people have come to regard arthritis as an "old persons" condition, something that might affect your elderly relatives. Whilst this may well be true, it isn't quite so widely appreciated that some forms of arthritis can affect younger people. And it's possible to sustain joint injuries at any age which can lead to osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common forms of arthritis.

It is estimated that more than half of arthritis sufferers are under the age of 65, but juvenile arthritis can begin in children as young as infants and toddlers. Arthritis affects many people as they age it is certainly not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, according to the American College of Rheumatology, one third of people older than age 70 show no x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis. And out of the 70 percent of people who do show signs of joint deterioration associated with osteoarthritis in x-rays, only half of them actually develop symptoms.

Does damp weather lead to arthritis?

It's a very common assumption that that the aches and pains of arthritis are brought on by cold and damp weather, and according to the Arthritis Foundation, nearly half of arthritis patients think they can predict the weather. But the medical studies to confirm this have been inconclusive. Having said that it is recognised that warmer milder weather may make arthritis sufferers feel better, but it might well be because they are more active in milder weather than they are during the bleaker winter months.

Arthritis and exercise: good or bad?

There is a school of thought that exercise aggravates the symptoms of arthritis. But the Fitness Arthritis and Seniors Trial which was the largest clinical trial to evaluate the effect of exercise on arthritis sufferers, found that those in the study that exercised regularly had significant improvements in symptoms of physical disability, as well as increased physical performance and reduced pain.

It is recognized that exercise promotes function and mobility, controls weight and strengthens the muscles that support the joints but keep in mind that this relates to moderate exercise like walking, Aquafit or perhaps Tai Chi, and that high-impact exercises like running, especially if your knees bother you, should probably be avoided.
Arthritis and diet

Research shows that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, complemented by a diet that includes the "good" fats found in fish and olive oil and nuts may be particularly effective at protecting joints and helping to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

But not all foods are equal when it comes to relieving arthritis symptoms and there is a question mark over whether vegetables in the "nightshade" family including potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine and peppers, can worsen symptoms. And whilst the medical jury is still out on this one and the longer term studies are completed it does seems that certain foods may worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, at least in some people.

Knuckle-cracking: more than just annoying?

I remember my relatives warning me not to crack my knuckles as a child because it would cause arthritis later in life, so you may have heard this story too. And although it may seem a plausible conclusion, so far the medical studies have found no association between knuckle-cracking and arthritis.

Knuckle cracking may remain an annoying habit, which might eventually affect your grip or your strength, it doesn't actually mean that the knuckle cracker will develop arthritis later in life. But on reflection you might prefer to keep this secret fact to yourself in the company of your children or grandchildren.

A Safe and Natural Way to Cure Arthritis

The Pain of Arthritis

You know what arthritis is and what it feels like whether it's rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, etc. The unbearable pain you feel especially in the morning when first waking up and having to run your hands under hot water to help alleviate the pain. I know exactly what it's like. I had arthritis. But after much searching and persistence I found a way to beat arthritis once and for all. I will be laying out steps you can start taking today, to start on the path to eliminating the pain of arthritis once and for all. All it takes is 4 different "phases" as I like to call it, and a strong commitment with a strong desire to become pain-free.

Why Drugs Will NOT Work

First off, let me tell you why any type of so called arthritis drug will not help you but in fact harm you even more. You've seen the television commercials advertising over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs offering relief from arthritis but let me tell you now, no over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs sold by the big drug companies is ever going to help you. That's just a fact. Why? Because these drugs do not address the underlying problem associated with arthritis. They may relieve the pain to a certain extent but the cartilage in your joints is damaged and your joints are still rubbing against each other. Once the drugs wear off, the pain comes back. Masking the pain is only going to lead to further joint degeneration and destruction. What you need to do is get to the root of the problem which is what I will show you.

Doctors give drugs of which they know little,
into bodies, of which they know less,
for diseases of which they know nothing at all

Phase One - Nutrition

Your diet is the foundation for the elimination of arthritis. Take a moment and examine what kind of foods you are eating on a daily basis. Are they healthy foods? Fast food? Junk food? This may not be what some of you want to hear but the first step towards becoming pain-free is to eliminate all junk food from your diet. If you are sick and tired of being in pain then the choice is easy but it's up to you. So to start off, you need to eliminate all fast foods, junk foods, sweets, carbonated drinks and flour. Flour has been proven to inflame arthritic conditions. Eat "clean" foods (unprocessed), fruits, vegetables, lean chicken breasts, fish, nuts and whole grains. Water. You need to drink LOTS of water. Water helps flush out toxins from the body and is a very important component in the elimination of the pain of arthritis. Continue this diet for about 2-4 weeks.

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.

- Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb

Phase Two - Detoxification

After a few weeks of "clean eating" you will start to feel better but be warned, because you are now eating healthy, your body will start to eliminate toxins from your body and there may be certain times where you feel an unusually higher amount of pain. This is actually good, it's called a "healing crisis". All this means is that your body is eliminating the toxins that have been stored in your body for years and have contributed to your arthritic condition. The next phase after you have been on a clean diet for a few weeks is probably the hardest but it is also the most effective: fasting. Fasting has tremendous healing effects especially on arthritic conditions. Start off by fasting just one day out of each week and eventually work up to a straight 3-5 days eating no food and just drinking water. This will further detoxify your body. On the third day of a fast you may experience a painful healing crisis, but do not be alarmed, it will pass and after this point, you may experience complete and total relief from all arthritic pain. This is what happened to me on the third night of my fast. I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible pain throughout my entire body that lasted maybe about an hour or so and then passed. Then in the morning when I awoke, it was like a miracle, I had NO pain at all. I simply woke up and got out of bed as if I never had pain in my life. I had previously suffered for six years. I wasn't hunched over in pain and I didn't have to run my fingers through hot water. The joints in my fingers at this point had also become less swollen.

Phase Three - Supplementation

The next phase involves continuing to get to the root of the problem by taking all natural supplements. These supplements are MSM, glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate. These three supplements combined will help further detoxify the body plus they will also help rebuild damaged cartilage which is one of the main reasons arthritis causes so much pain. You can find these supplements at your local health store or supermarket. Incorporate these supplements in you daily diet each day to keep on eliminating the pain and flushing out toxins and rebuilding the cartilage tissue surrounding your joints.

Phase Four - Exercise

When you stop moving, you start dying. What happens to a corpse after someone dies? It starts to stiffen. That's what happens to us especially if you have an arthritic condition. You need to keep those joints loose and warm and the best way to do that is start moving. Exercise doesn't have to be a chore. All it takes is 15-20 minutes a day. Take a walk around the park, park your car a little further when you go to the supermarket. You can easily incorporate some type of exercise into your daily routine. The key is to keep moving, don't become sedentary.


Eliminating the pain of arthritis doesn't take a miracle, just some practical guidelines that anyone can follow and a willingness to follow through with the outlined steps above and wanting to enjoy a pain-free life. If you follow the steps above, you will become pain-free. As always, before beginning any type of diet or training regiment, always be sure to consult your doctor. Here's to a pain-free life.

Antler Arthritis - Symptoms and Treatments

Arthritis, or the inflammation of the joints, has different kinds and conditions, and one form of this is antler arthritis.

When a person experiences antler arthritis, he or she usually will feel aching and soreness in his or her joints. The main cause of arthritis has yet to be proven. Fortunately, there are already a number of natural treatments that can be used to cure any kind of arthritis. These treatments repair the broken cartilages of your joints. Be careful of simply using medication for relief, as these medicines simply numb the brain so that it does not feel the pain.

In spite of this, the damage is still present in the joints. What is most important in looking for the right treatment is to check whether it rebuilds the cartilage that has been damaged.

Symptoms of antler arthritis include aching, soreness, deformity, and joint distention. Its name comes from the antler of the deer, which is believed to be able to rebuild its antlers if it gets damaged. When the velvet antler of a deer is removed, it can be regenerated in just months. It has then been proven that there is treatment for antler arthritis found in velvet antlered deer.

This treatment has been used mostly in Asian countries to help cure arthritis because it contains elements that are needed to help rebuild the cartilage that has been damaged. Studies have shown that doctors consider this to be the simplest treatment for antler arthritis and the symptoms that it causes including the soreness, swelling, and pain in the joints.

Deer or elk antler velvet has also been used for thousands of years not only to treat antler arthritis but a variety of other medical conditions such as fatigue, high blood pressure, and even impotence.

Antler velvet is specifically the growing antler found in a male deer. It is best used before it becomes hard and calcified. The antler is usually covered in fine hair and is very soft. The use of the deer's antler velvet is animal-friendly because a male deer will grow a set of new antlers every single year. If not harvested in time, it will just fall out on its own once it grows out a new set. It can also be helpful to a deer when its antlers are removed at an early stage because it might be used as weapons during mating season with other deer.

Antler velvet has components that are very useful such as calcium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, and sulfur. This is why it has also been proven to increase testosterone production in males, help in healing wounds at a much more rapid pace, as well as help in healing of muscles quickly.

The intake of antler velvet has also been proven to increase one's stamina and strength. For arthritis patients, the antler velvet reduces the swelling, soreness, pain, and discomfort caused by the damage in the cartilage. It also helps in repairing the broken cartilage because of the aforementioned minerals and components it contains. The effect of the antler velvet can usually be seen within three to six months of usage.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Does Weather Really Affect Arthritis?

  • Arthritis, and its numerous forms, is just one of the conditions that some believe is directly affected by the weather and changes in barometric pressure. Weather and Arthritis Pain Research

  • In the 1960s, a famed arthritis specialist named Dr. J. Hollander orchestrated a study to demonstrate how high levels of humidity along with low barometric pressure increased stiffness and joint pain in patients who suffered from arthritis. The fibromyalgia sufferers in this study indicated more pain only during days of high pressure. At the end of this study, no significant links between changing weather patterns and an increase in arthritis pain were ever found. Why Weather is Believed to Affect Arthritis Pain

  • Cold and rainy weather is often accompanied by a distinct drop in air pressure. The Types of Weather Changes That May Affect Arthritis Pain

  • Barometric or air pressure: Although rising barometric pressure, which is the amount of force or weight exerted by the air around us, may also affect some types of arthritis pain, more often than not it is a rapid decline in air pressure, such as the drop that's associated with stormy weather, that causes an increase in aches and pains.

  • Humidity: The amount of water vapors in the air is referred to as either humidity, absolute humidity, or relative humidity. - Temperature: Cold weather has long been associated with arthritis pain and stiffness in the joints, as well as triggering a host of other conditions such as migraine headaches or circulatory problems. For example, in one arthritis pain study, people living on the western coast of the United States in a milder climate reported just as much pain as those living in the eastern, colder portion of the country.

Does the Weather Really Affect Arthritis?

For as long as man has been aware of the changing weather, there has been speculation that it may also affect one's health and certain ailments besides simply altering the temperature.

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek "Father of Medicine" suspected as long ago as 400 B.C. that different weather conditions have a great influence on how our bodies feel. A few thousand years later, the modern world of science and medicine is still divided on whether or not fluctuations in the weather actually affect some health conditions.

Arthritis, and its numerous forms, is just one of the conditions that some believe is directly affected by the weather and changes in barometric pressure. A great majority of people diagnosed with arthritis say they can easily predict the weather based on how they're feeling, or how sore or tender their joints may be, making perfect sense of the saying "I'm feeling under the weather."

Although there are many people with arthritis who swear by this meteorological method of gaging the severity of their pain, there still is no actual scientific evidence to back up the claims.

Weather and Arthritis Pain Research

In the 1960s, a famed arthritis specialist named Dr. J. Hollander orchestrated a study to demonstrate how high levels of humidity along with low barometric pressure increased stiffness and joint pain in patients who suffered from arthritis. He indicated that neither of these weather changes individually had an impact on pain, but only when they occurred simultaneously.

Dr. Hollander concluded that when barometric pressure drops, the swelling around inflamed joints increases, causing more irritation to the surrounding nerves, which then also increases the amount of pain felt. This particular study has been refuted by many scientists as inconclusive due to the small number of patients (12) who participated.

One similar, more recent study also examined the association between arthritis pain and the weather involving people diagnosed with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia, which is another rheumatic disorder causing sore, tender joints. All of the participants lived in the same, warm climate and kept a log for one year, recording any changes in their level of pain. These logs were then compared with daily changes in the weather such as the relative humidity and temperature.

In this study, some people with rheumatoid arthritis seemed to be most affected by high levels of humidity and air pressure, while others in the osteoarthritis group felt more pain when only the humidity was high. The fibromyalgia sufferers in this study indicated more pain only during days of high pressure. However, none of the findings were strong enough to rely on just the weather itself to predict impending changes in pain levels.

Yet another research study involved over 100 people living in Florida who were diagnosed with osteoarthritis. For two years participants were told to score the severity of their arthritis pain so that researchers could match the results with local temperatures, whether or not there was precipitation, and what the barometric pressure was for each day. At the end of this study, no significant links between changing weather patterns and an increase in arthritis pain were ever found. However, some women did report experiencing more pain in their hands when barometric pressure was its highest.

Why Weather is Believed to Affect Arthritis Pain

Cold and rainy weather is often accompanied by a distinct drop in air pressure. One theory exists that this drop in pressure causes the body's tissues to expand, causing the already inflamed areas to swell more and increase pain. And then there are those doctors who argue that just a gloomy, rainy day itself may cause some to feel as if their pain is worse than it actually is.

Another theory simply suggests that people's threshold for pain drops along with the air temperature. Therefore, colder weather affects one's mood, making people less likely to be outdoors, remaining active, and getting the exercise that helps keep some arthritis pain under control.

There are also those who believe that arthritis sufferers look to the climate as an explanation for their increase in pain simply because there is no other plausible reason, only noting when the weather is inclement, but not noticing weather conditions as much when their pain is under control and stable.

The Types of Weather Changes That May Affect Arthritis Pain

- Barometric or air pressure: Although rising barometric pressure, which is the amount of force or weight exerted by the air around us, may also affect some types of arthritis pain, more often than not it is a rapid decline in air pressure, such as the drop that's associated with stormy weather, that causes an increase in aches and pains.

- Precipitation: Precipitation, meaning any form of water reaching the ground, includes not only rain and snow, but hail and sleet as well, and is accompanied by changes in air pressure and humidity.

- Humidity: The amount of water vapors in the air is referred to as either humidity, absolute humidity, or relative humidity. Increases in absolute humidity, which measures the amount of water vapors in relationship to the amount of moisture the air can hold at that particular temperature, are said to cause an increase in arthritis pain especially during the summer months.

- Temperature: Cold weather has long been associated with arthritis pain and stiffness in the joints, as well as triggering a host of other conditions such as migraine headaches or circulatory problems. Temperatures that quickly rise or fall are again the result of changes in barometric pressure.

It's important to remember that although certain types of weather may adversely influence some of the symptoms of arthritis such as pain and swelling, there is no scientific evidence that those climate changes are what causes one to develop arthritis in the first place, or to suffer from joint damage.

While it's true there is some evidence that some people living in drier, more arid places have fewer episodes of arthritic pain, there is no type of environment that guarantees complete relief from arthritis pain. It is also known that temperature and climate changes do not affect the actual course or progress of the disease.

People considering relocating to a warmer climate may want to consider the fact that most scientists believe that the body acclimates itself to its new environment over a relatively brief period of time. Which means that moving to a dry climate may seem to provide relief at first, it isn't believed to be beneficial over the long-term. For example, in one arthritis pain study, people living on the western coast of the United States in a milder climate reported just as much pain as those living in the eastern, colder portion of the country.

If you aren't able to spend time outside for exercise, be sure to compensate by exercising and remaining active indoors during times of inclement weather.

In many Asian countries and parts of Europe, homeopathic treatments are rather common for dealing with the pain associated with arthritis. Various herbs and natural substances are often combined to create remedies for arthritis pain as opposed to using traditional medications. Of course, as is with any type of disease or condition not just arthritis, a proper diagnosis by a qualified medical professional is imperative for any successful pain relief treatment plan.

What Are the Risks of Treatment With TNF Inhibitors for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune disease that preferentially attacks the joints but also attacks many internal organs. It affects approximately two million Americans.

Recent therapeutic developments in the last 20 years have allowed rheumatologists to achieve remission in many if not most patients with this disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients are at increased risk of infection. This increased risk is partly due to the disease itself. And some of the increased risk is obviously due to the immunosuppressive medications, some patients may be receiving.

The most recent therapeutic agents used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are biologic therapies. And the most commonly used biologic therapies are what are called tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNF). Tumor necrosis factor plays an important role in the control of infection. In particular, TNF release from immune cells, called macrophages, is critical for proper defense against infecting agents such as bacteria. TNF also is important in regards to regulation of white blood cell movement within the blood stream and other areas.

On the flip side, drugs that block tumor necrosis factor can also have beneficial effects that must be weighed against their potential ill effects on infection defense. In short, they reduce the immune abnormalities that are part of rheumatoid arthritis, the disease.

A recent report (Anti-TNF Therapy is Associated with an Increased Risk of Serious Infections in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Especially in the First 6 Months of Treatment: Updated Results from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register with Special Emphasis on Risks in the Elderly" Galloway JB, et al Rheumatology. 2010;51(1):124-131.) highlighted the difficulties associated with estimation of infection risk in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with TNF inhibitors.

According to the authors of the above paper, there have been several attempts in clinical trials to try and quantify the increased risk of infection in patients who are taking anti-TNF drugs. However, because of multiple reasons, including patient population size, study design, as well as the "artificial environment" associated with clinical trials, quantifying infection risk has been difficult. Also, since many patients with rheumatoid arthritis are taking steroids, which also increase infection risk, this has been another confounding factor.

Large observational studies looking at multiple clinical trials have shown that there appears to be an increased risk of certain infections in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with anti-TNF drugs. The organisms that seem to pop up with the most frequency are Listeria, Salmonella, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The number reported by the British Registry in the recent study is a 20 per cent overall increase. What is really startling though is the fact that the risk for serious infections was increased by 80 percent during the first six months of therapy.

Why such a high number early on? The authors offer a few possible explanations. The first is that patients who are really susceptible to infection may get infections early on and be taken off their TNF inhibitor medicines. That leaves a relatively healthy number of patients left to assess.

There may also be adjustments in the immune system that might, over time, compensate for the lack of TNF.

Finally, as patients become better controlled with their disease, they require less in the way of steroids, therefore reducing infection risk.

Finally... and this is an important, if not obvious point. There also appears to be an increased risk of infection with increasing age. This is not a surprise, given that older patients have other disease conditions and are on multiple medications.

While this article hasn't mentioned all the risks associated with TNF inhibitors, I have tried to at least present the latest information in regards to the most common one, which is infection.

Joint Pains Not Inevitable Due to Aging- Arthritis Care Advice for Indians

Creaky, achy joints, a twinge in the knee, a sharp shooting pain from the shoulder to the elbow, No big deal, right?

Wrong. All too often, we assume joint pain is a normal part of aging that we just have to learn to live with. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"Many people in India know very little about joint pain," Contrary to what many may think, joint pain is not an inevitable part of aging. Unless someone has suffered an injury such as breaking a leg, joint pain in the 50-plus age group usually means osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease in which the joints' natural shock absorber -- Cartilage -- begins to break down. Without their protective layer, bones begin to scrape against one other, causing joint pain and thwarting movement.

But never make a diagnosis by yourself. "The average person may not be able tell if it's the joint, a torn tendon or ligament, or pain in the area of the joint. An orthopaedic surgeon needs to evaluate you to make sure you do in fact have joint pain and why."

X-rays can sometimes show changes that indicate cartilage breakdown, but often, the images are inconclusive. "Physical exam, MRI, and bone scans can all be helpful in establishing a diagnosis that is not evident on X-ray."

While there is no conservative cure for joint pain, you can find relief. Treatments range from lifestyle changes to medications to surgery -- and should usually be tried in that order.

Lifestyle Changes

If you are overweight, the first step is to loose weight. A recent study shows that losing as little as 11 pounds (5 kilos) can decrease the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by 50%. The next step is to work with a physical therapist to develop an exercise program that's right for you. Walking, and other low-impact exercises that don't put pounding pressure on the joints are helpful but high impact exercises such as jogging should usually be avoided. "Exercise is a lifetime commitment," I recommend that patients work out for 40 minutes at a time, three or four days a week. Wearing the correct footwear is also important. A regular and brisk morning walk for one hour (recent recommendation) will usher in a feeling of well being and is excellent all-round exercise. Putting all your joints through a full range of movement will go a long way in preventing stiffness.


If lifestyle changes don't ease your pain, medication is often prescribed. For mild pain, a simple painkiller can often help. Heat or cold therapy can often provide temporary pain relief. For more prolonged pain which is not amenable to simple drugs, your orthopedician in India will write you up for an anti- inflammatory drug. Although this latest generation of drugs has come under fire recently in the US, their capacity to alleviate pain in the elderly for short durations is welcome. If Knee pain is due to osteoarthritis, Glucosamine could be useful in the early stages. An orthopedic surgeon may choose to supplement the fluid in your knee with a synthetic substance which improves the viscosity of the joint fluid and ameliorates pain.

Surgery including Joint Replacement-

Joint replacements are advised for the elderly person with severe knee or other joint pain. For the young person, I perform some form of cartilage surgery in which the focal damaged areas of cartilage are repaired by surgery. This is an alternative available for young patients as they need not wait to attain the senior citizen's age (> 70) to get a joint replacement. Meniscal suture and Ligament reconstruction in the knee help to restore the mechanical stability for those sportspersons with knee injuries. These will postpone the advent of osteoarthritis. In those unlucky to have had a complete Menisectomy (complete removal of the semi- lunar cartilage) of the knee, Meniscal transplant will be available in Chennai soon. At present this surgery is confined to a few centres in the US and Europe.

For senior citizens if all else fails to relieve your pain and disability, your doctor may recommend surgery in which an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called prosthesis.

The artificial joints, fashioned out of metal and plastic, can be as good as the real thing, restoring movement and function.
"Joint replacement is extremely successful, lasting over 20 years for more than 90% of patients," The procedure is becoming increasingly safer and less invasive.

In summary, prompt consultation with your orthopedic surgeon will lead to earlier diagnosis and effective treatment of joint pain and improve the quality of many lives affected by this common malady.

Arthritis in Dogs - How to Care For Canine Arthritis

Arthritis in dogs is a painful, progressive and degenerative disease causing inflammation of a joint which can inhibit movement. More properly called osteoarthritis, although there are other types of arthritis, this is the most common, the most easily treated and is the focus of this article.

The cause of canine arthritis in most cases is the simple wear and tear to bones and joints over time. Arthritis often occurs at a point of pervious injury or when there is a history of infection such as lyme disease.

Osteoarthritis mainly occurs in older dogs over the age of 7 years and is more widely seen in larger breeds, such a German Shepherds, Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Overweight dogs are also more likely to suffer from arthritis. In young dogs it may be caused by failure of proper bone development.

Arthritis in dogs is frequently accompanied by hip dysplasia. Together these two ailments can seriously impair your dog's mobility and quality of life.

Symptoms are subtle to start with such as decreased interest in activity or lagging behind on walks and progress to more obvious ones:

  • difficulty getting up and down

  • reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs

  • stiff, sore or swollen joints

  • limping

  • sensitivity to cold

  • behavioral changes such as aggression, withdrawal or irritability

Treatment - while there is no way to reverse the problem at present, arthritis can be treated with medications or less often, hip-replacement and other types of joint surgery. Most dogs will improve with anti-inflammatory medications which can reduce the pain and swelling of damaged joints caused by osteoarthritis and increase mobility. Be aware; however, of possible side effects involving the digestive system, kidneys, or liver.

When it comes to treatment of arthritis in dogs, many pet owners and veterinarians take an integrative approach, combining prescription medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with supplements and alternative treatments such as acupuncture. Some of the more popular and sometimes effective supplements are glucosamine, chondroitin, msm, ester-c, and hyaluronic acid. Many dog owners have reported positive outcomes using these natural supplements.

Weight loss can help relieve stress on joints. Older large-breed dogs tend to be overweight. This discourages them from getting the exercise they need and may aggravate their arthritis. The more weight on those poor old joints, the harder it is to move around.

Prevention is one of the kindest and most effective measures you can take. Keeping your dog in shape through regular exercise and proper nutrition for optimal health is your best line of defense against this painful disease, as well as your best approach after your dog has been diagnosed. Another key is to maintain proper weight and limit snacks and foods that can aggravate inflammation.

Much can be done to make arthritic dogs more comfortable and improve their lives.

  • prevent stressing weak painful joints or falling down - place gates across stairs

  • elevate food and water dishes

  • portable ramps or steps - for home and vehicle

  • rubber place mat to stabilize food and water dishes that slip on bare floors while your dog is eating

  • cushion joints - orthopedic dog beds at least four inches thick

The bottom line is arthritis in dogs needs veterinary care. If you suspect your best buddy has arthritis, follow the advice of your veterinarian.