Saturday, November 2, 2013

Arthritis Treatment: Understanding The 3 Stages Of Gouty Arthritis

Gouty arthritis is caused by a defect in the body's metabolism that permits the accumulation of uric acid (UA).

UA is a byproduct of the metabolism of purines, substances found in abundance in certain foods. While animals have an enzyme called uricase that further breaks down UA, human beings do not. Which is why UA builds up and deposits in areas such as joints leading to gouty arthritis (GA).

There are two ways that UA accumulates. Ninety per cent of the time it's because the body can't get rid of it fast enough through the kidneys, the normal mode of exit. Ten per cent of the time, UA accumulates because of overproduction of UA by the body.

There are three stages of GA.

The first stage is when people have elevated blood levels of UA but do not have symptoms. This phase is termed "asymptomatic hyperuricemia." The important thing to understand is that the actual level of UA in the blood will dictate the likelihood of getting gout attacks. The higher the blood UA level is above normal, the greater the likelihood for attacks. A serum UA level of 6.0 mg/dl is considered normal.

The second stage is called acute intermittent GA. What this means is that a patient will have sudden flare-ups of GA. But they will also have periods of time when they don't have these severe attacks. That doesn't mean they are disease free, because most people who have this stage of GA will still have smoldering inflammation in their joints. Attacks can occur as frequently as every few weeks but can be spaced out as long as several years. These acute attacks have a tendency to occur in joints that have been damaged from other diseases such as osteoarthritis. The attacks are extremely painful.

The final stage is advanced GA. In this stage, elevated blood UA has been present for a long time, usually ten years or longer. While acute attacks may still occur, the disease has gotten to the point where deposits of UA occur in different areas of the body including the joints, skin, and kidneys. These accumulations of UA form lumps that are called "tophi" (toe- f- eye). Patients will have chronic joint symptoms affecting multiple joints. The severe degree of inflammation as well as the presence of multiple joints being involved, often occurring in a symmetric fashion, can lead to a mistaken diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment of GA will vary depending on the stage a patient presents with. Multiple effective medication, dietary, and lifestyle therapies are available.

The Presence of Arthritis Increases Heart Disease Risk

Arthritis is a widely-known joint disorder that's associated with a considerable amount of pain and often results in limited joint movement. While this disorder is associated with numerous other complications related to the joints alone, newer studies have revealed a possible association with heart disorders. It has been reported that the presence of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, increases your risk of developing heart disorders!

Risk of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a condition characterized by accumulation of fatty material (referred as plaque) along the walls of the blood vessels. This often results in narrowing of the blood vessels thereby reducing the amount of blood flowing through them. This in turn increases the workload of the heart, leading to numerous changes in the heart structure and functions.

Additionally, the fatty material can often get dislodged from its original location and form blocks in the blood vessels within the heart (known as coronary arteries) and also other organs. Such a condition often results in blockage of the blood supply to the heart, which can lead to heart attacks.

The study which evaluated the risk of heart disorders in individuals suffering from arthritis reported several findings which are a matter of concern. It was noted that individuals with arthritis had many important changes in the heart structure which were considered to be dangerous. Risk of atherosclerosis was one of the main concerns in arthritic individuals.

Although these individuals did not have any prior symptoms of heart disorders, the findings suggested an increased risk of such an occurrence. It was noted that the thickness of the walls of the blood vessels was greater than before. The presence of plaque within the blood vessels was also observed. Further, the walls of the blood vessels had become stiff and were damaged at different places. All these findings suggested an increased risk of heart disorders in these individuals.

Factors That Increased the Risk

The authors of the study noted that the risk of heart disorders in individuals suffering from psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis was higher in certain cases only.

Individuals with severe form of arthritis or those with widespread arthritis had a higher risk of developing heart related complications than others. Additionally, factors such as the presence of rheumatoid arthritis, involvement of other organs, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure, further accentuated such abnormal changes in the blood vessels.


It was concluded that individuals suffering from arthritis are more prone to develop heart related disorders due to the increased risk of atherosclerosis. Therefore, such individuals should take adequate care to ensure that the cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels are within normal ranges. The symptoms and other related factors in psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis must also be kept under control by strictly following the advice of the doctor.

Although there is a risk of heart disorders in individuals with arthritis, with proper care and adequate preventive steps, it can definitely be decreased.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment - How a Deer Can Help Rebuild Cartilage and Cure Arthritis

Did you know that rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most debilitating forms of arthritis because symptoms make everyday tasks nearly impossible? Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition which causes the joints to throb and eventually become disfigured. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) include: inflammation; pain; little movement; and joint disfigurement.

Though the cause of RA is unknown, there is an effective arthritis natural treatment which allows arthritis suffers to reduce the pain, reduce the inflammation and rebuild the cartilage between the joints. If you suffer from arthritis, you should immediately begin simple remedies to reduce the symptoms and rebuild the cartilage.

Why You Shouldn't Choose Prescription Medications

It might be important to consider why you want to rebuild the cartilage between the joints. Normally, arthritis sufferers take some form of medication reducing the inflammation and eliminating the pain. However, the problem with this remains that the joint is still aching but the brain is not registering the pain. Therefore, the unaware arthritic patient goes on hurting the joints and cartilage more and more while severely damaging the joints and existing cartilage.

The equivalent of this would be putting a piece of tape over the car's 'check engine oil' light and hoping you can finish the road trip. Though you might make it back to your house, the engine will eventually blow up without oil. You must put oil in your engine and you must rebuild cartilage if you wish to use your joints the rest of your life.

And above all that, you might want to safe your liver from the harsh drugs?

How to Reduce Arthritis Pain and Rebuild Cartilage

If you have ever been around deer you might notice something miraculously astounding about bucks (male deer). The male deer can naturally regenerate its antlers in months! In fact, a deer will grind its antlers on a tree, and completely strip the velvet off. However, months later, the deer antler velvet regenerates itself completely.

This isn't the end of our science lesson though. Russian scientists discovered after isolating compounds in deer antler velvet; they could use the compounds to rebuild cartilage between human joints. In fact, this natural remedy has been used for hundreds of years first starting with Asian countries.

How does this relate to you? This is one simple natural treatment to cure arthritis and not only hide the pain!

Other Simple Cures for Arthritis

Did you know that you can treat and cure arthritis with other simple cures? In fact, by eating a proper diet, drinking the correct fluids (water), doing the correct breathing exercises daily, getting an adequate amount of low-impact exercise, reducing stress and taking the correct vitamins and natural supplements you can actually eliminate almost 100% of arthritis NATURALLY (No Drugs and No Surgery Needed)! To discover what thousands of arthritis sufferers already have, please visit our Natural Cure for Arthritis Website.

Naturally Cure for Arthritis

Arthritis Treatment Through the Holistic Approach

Arthritis is characterized by joint pain and inflammation and it affects quite a large percentage of people. There are varied and different forms of this disease and when left neglected can create much havoc. Among them are physical and mobility limitations, deformity and even debilitation. When one is living with arthritis, it can cause significant inconvenience. Arthritis treatment options are available, either through conventional methods or through the holistic approach to mention the basics. Many well know of conventional means for arthritis treatment. They can be through pharmaceutical drugs or certain procedures or even surgery. These are regarded as mainstream arthritis treatment measures.

But often, they come with side effects which entail other discomforts. Such is why there are those who turn to holistic medicine. The holistic approach for arthritis treatment is becoming quite popular. Holistic medicine offers a lasting relief from arthritic pain and inflammation. This approach to arthritis states that the disease is caused by several factors. Contributing to its different forms are not only physical imbalances but mental and environmental irregularities as well. To treat the disease properly requires an assessment of the factors which caused it. A battery of diagnostic tools are used to create an individual picture of the patient's case.

Among these diagnostic tools are physical exams, emotional evaluations, dietary assessments and tests for the immune and digestive functions. The holistic medicine practitioner takes time in finding the root cause and the patient has an active participation in their treatment. There is a wide range of therapies in the holistic approach for arthritis treatment and even prevention. Chinese herbal medicine, stress reduction, detoxification, proper diet and nutrition are within these means of therapy. Massage and exercises, acupuncture and chiropractic are also resorted to for repair of nerves and muscles. The goal of holistic medicine is to achieve balance and health.

This approach believes that the contrary-ill health and disease- are caused by obstructions which impede the flow of energy in the organs. To restore energy and function to the system, holistic medicine makes use of Chinese herbs. When it comes to arthritic pain and inflammation, diet and nutrition are crucial. All in all, this alternative arthritis treatment aims on catering to the overall health of the patient. It is not only inclined towards providing superficial symptomatic relief. Through thorough tests and evaluations, imbalances are detected until the causes of arthritis are detected. It is then that treatment options are applied, and they are generally natural healing therapies.

Such therapies are geared towards restoring balance and harmony all throughout the system. This is not only in the physical sense, but in all aspects of the person. Natural arthritis treatment also makes use of natural supplements. One such product for natural joint protection is Joint Advance. With Joint Advance, joint health is supported the natural way. Joint Advance has herbal and organic ingredients thus side effects are less likely to occur. Joint Advance has been proven effective and it is guaranteed to offer joint pain relief. One can do away with the limitations of joint pain and healthy living can be enjoyed to the fullest.

What Arthritis Problems Cause Severe Pain in the Thumb?

There are different problems seen in a rheumatologist's office that can cause thumb pain.

Probably the most common is what is called De Quervain's tenosynovitis. This kind of tendinitis is due to repetitive motion involving the thumb. Actions such as using pruning shears, writing, pinching, knitting, lifting weights, and typing can cause this.

Another situation is that of new mothers. Because of the repetitive motion involved in lifting and carrying a baby, new mothers can also develop this condition.

Symptoms of De Quervain's include swelling, pain, and tenderness involving the radial (thumb side) of the wrist and thumb. The pain can be so severe that the patient cannot use their thumb at all.

On examination, there is tenderness noted along the thumb side of the wrist. Also, there is a positive Finkelstein's maneuver. The physician has the patient bring the thumb across the palm of the hand. Then the patient is asked to fold their fingers over the thumb. The hand is then pushed towards the little finger side of the wrist. This stretches the tendons along the thumb side of the wrist and causes severe pain.

While the diagnosis is often made on clinical grounds, it can be confirmed by either diagnostic ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

There is a simple reason for making sure the diagnosis is correct. That reason is because there is another type of tendinitis that looks like De Quervain's tendinitis. This condition is called intersection syndrome.

Intersection syndrome involves tendons that are very near the tendons that cause De Quervain's disease. Intersection syndrome also arises from repetitive motion and is often seen in very active people.

One other condition that can be confused with De Quervains disease is osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb. Location of symptoms is very similar in both conditions.

One other type of tendonitis can occur on the palm side of the thumb. This is called stenosing tenosynovitis- or" trigger thumb." The patient may have difficulty bending and straightening their thumb because it catches.

Once the diagnosis of DeQuervain's disease or intersection syndrome is established, treatment of this set of conditions- which are considered forms of arthritis- can begin. Treatment of these disorders include splinting, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and sometimes, corticosteroid injection. Steroid injection should be administered using ultrasound guidance. This usually provides rapid relief.

In those patients who do not respond to the above measures, needle tenotomy with platelet rich plasma (PRP) administration using ultrasound guidance is often each effective.

For trigger thumb, steroid injection usually works. In those patients who continue to trigger, a release of the small pulley that causes trapping of the thumb tendon can be accomplished using a small needle with ultrasound guidance. In rare instances, open surgery is required.

Psoriasis Symptoms - How to Recognize the Disease

Psoriasis can be an unsightly disease with many plaques of reddened skin with silvery flakes of overgrown skin occurring most commonly on the back of the elbows and on the front of the knees or lower back. In severe cases, it can affect the whole body, including aspects of the face and scalp. Some people get the lesions on the palms of their hands and on the soles of their feet. There are a lot of symptoms with psoriasis as well that make life somewhat uncomfortable for those who suffer from it.

Itching is a common symptom of psoriasis. Because it tends to be on drier aspects of the body (unless you have inverse psoriasis), you can get significant itching. The problem with the itching is that if you scratch it, you can irritate the skin further, making the psoriasis worse. This is why doctors recommend that you gently massage the itchy skin to get rid of the itching. Scratching to the point of excoriating the skin can not only worsen the psoriasis, it can cause infections of the skin. The infection itself can make the psoriasis much worse.

The next most common symptom is pain in the affected areas. You can have irritated and painful plaques that hurt whenever you touch them. If you have psoriasis in the genital area or in the folds of the skin, they can get infected with yeast, which can be both itchy and painful. The skin becomes moist and macerated and it hurts whenever you rub those skin areas together.

You can have nail symptoms with psoriasis and nearly half of all psoriasis sufferers will have nail psoriasis as well. This can lead to pain in the fingertips or itching around the nails. The nails have linear ridges going from side to side and pitting of the nails. You can also get lifting of the nail plate off of the nail base due to a buildup of skin underneath the nail plate. This can hurt and you can build up skin and dirt debris underneath the nail. Infections due to dirt and skin cells under the nails can occur, which need antibiotics or lancing of abscesses. Some people with psoriasis of the nails choose to have their nails removed because of the problems with the nails. The nails are either removed with an ointment that dissolves the nails or the nails can be removed surgically.

A small percentage of psoriasis sufferers will have psoriatic arthritis. In such cases, the joints affected are red, swollen and painful. Things like using the hands or walking can become very painful. The most commonly affected joints are the distal finger joints, just adjacent to the nails. This makes it very difficult to grasp things, to write or to use the hands in any capacity. If the toe joints of the feet are affected, the person has problems wearing shoes and walking becomes difficult. Other joints can be involved, including the spine, which can yield significant back pain.

Some people have palmoplantar psoriasis, which involves the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. There are usually blisters and pustules involved in this form of psoriasis which are very painful and which make it difficult to use these parts of the body.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis and Joint Pain Problem

Arthritis signs and symptoms vary with individuals. Here we will emphasize on some of the major signs and symptoms of arthritis and joint pain problem.

1. Pain is the first and foremost sign and symptom of arthritis. All arthritis patients suffer from excruciating joint pain. Pain due to arthritis is also termed as arthralgia. The word comes from Greek 'artho' meaning joint and 'algos' meaning pain. The root cause of the pain lies in the destructive and degenerative process involved in arthritis. In other words the cartilage degeneration and bone friction causes acute pain, as in case of osteoarthritis. Also inflammation of tissues around joints leads to pain as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. Accumulation of fluids and uric acid crystals in between the joints also lead to pain.

2. Swelling is another sign and symptom of arthritis. At times it is also the primary symptom of arthritis. Little amount of fluid is always present in our joints under normal conditions. In a joint attacked by arthritis, the amount of fluid increases to abnormal proportions making the joint look swollen. This excess fluid is discharged by the soft tissues lining the joint. The tissues come under the effect of arthritis and produce large amount of fluids.

3. Stiffness or inflexibility at the joint is a symptom associated with swelling. Muscle tightness, inflammation of joint lining and calcification at the joints are triggering factors causing stiffness. In case of patients with much stiffness, the joints may become non-functional with time. Therefore stiffness if not checked may even lead to disability. The stiffness usually increases if the ailing joint is kept idle for a long time. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by severe stiffness early in the morning just after waking up. The stiffness comes down gradually as one gets in to activities.

4. Crepitus or a crunching or grating sound while moving an ailing joint is a common symptom of arthritis, noticeable in many. The word is derived from a Latin word meaning 'a rattle or crackling sound'. Crepitus is an indication of wearing out of cartilages in a joint. When crepitus occurs, along with the crunching sound, one feels some sensation in the affected joint. Crepitus is usually painless.

5. Deformity at joint is another arthritis symptom. It is common in case of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Bony outgrowths, swan neck deformity or bending of finger base, boutonniere deformity or flexion of PIP joint in the finger are common types of deformities caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Basal joint deformity or thumb carpometacarpal hyperextension deformity causes the thumb to stretch out and bend backward. This type is seen in patients with osteoarthritis.

6. Redness of skin around the affected joint is one sign and symptom. When some damage occurs at any part of the body, the immune system runs to destroy or eliminate the cause of damage. The same is true in case of joint damage as well. When the battle goes on, the result is redness in the external skin.

7. Arthritis patients also suffer from constipation or colitis.

Arthritis Digest - What is Palindromic Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Palindromic rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by episodes of pain, swelling, warmth and stiffness of the joints. Individuals affected by the disease also experience recurrent attacks of transient inflammation in and around the joints. It normally afflicts two to three joints and has some typical symptoms and is very difficult to treat.

Fast Facts About Palindromic RA

* Palindromic rheumatoid arthritis is a rare kind of inflammatory arthritis with very distinctive features. It is sometimes referred to as a syndrome, which means that it is a typical condition with a collection of several symptoms

* This type of arthritis is generally characterized by episodes or attacks of pain and swelling of the joints. It also affects tissues that surround the joints.

* These attacks generally involve one to three joints

* The attacks attributable to palindromic rheumatism start suddenly and would last for hours or days before the attacks quickly recede.

* There is high probability of recurrence but with unpredictable frequency.

* This syndrome does not usually lead to permanent joint damage, as differentiated to RA.

* About 30-40 % of those affected by the syndrome develop more frequent episodes as the disease progresses. This may lead to complications including rheumatoid arthritis and their rheumatoid factor may become positive.

* The joints commonly involved with palindromic rheumatism include: the large joints, knees and fingers

* X-ray results will indicate normal condition as joint space narrowing id not present.

Recurrent Episodes of Pain

This type of arthritis gives rise to episodic articular, or periarticular pain. The most common joints that are affected by the disease are those of the fingers and knees.

The pain caused by palindromic rheumatoid arthritis can get intense but will not last longer than two or three days. These episodic attacks stop as quickly as they begin. In about 60% of cases, individuals suffering from this disease may have pain-free phases lasting up to weeks or months. In some instances, the attacks can return after years and may cause no permanent damage.

Rheumatoid Factors in Palindromic RA

There are several factors typical of rheumatoid which are observable in some of the palindromic rheumatoid arthritis patients. Some of these factors include:

* The large joints are the more commonly involved when recurrent episodes of attacks are considered

* Soft tissues of the heel pads and finger pads are the ones affected by the swelling of the periarticular tissues.

* Nodules will develop below the skin in the subcutaneous tissues

* During a typical blood test, increased ESR and CRP levels indicate a rheumatoid factor

Treatment of Palindromic RA

NSAIDs are usually prescribed during attacks associated with palindromic rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment for the syndrome may also include steroid injections or oral steroids. DMARDs and colchicine are now also emerging as modalities to prevent future attacks of palindromic rheumatism.

Generally, the factors that give rise to palindromic rheumatoid arthritis are still uncertain. In the absence of substantive study results, medical experts consider the disease to be a special form of RA.

My Mom's Swollen Fingers

Starting when I was young, my mother would complain of pain in her knees, fingers and hands. I never thought much of this,I was young and I often thought she was either faking it or even after watching her run scalding hot water over her hands to get them to open and close, thought the she was greatly exaggerating the amount of pain she was feeling. She would sometimes ask for help that we kids would grudgingly give. I never knew. I couldn't imagine. I had no comparison for the pain she was going through. I didn't know what arthritis was, even when I knew that was what was causing the pain.

But now I know, arthritis is hereditary. I have it, in a stunningly ironic twist, in my hands, my knees and my fingers. I was lucky, my onset didn't happen until I was in my early 40's. My mother's onset happened in her early teens. Knowing the pain now, I marvel that she was able to take care of four children, much less carry those children for nine months until born. I have wondered how those savaged knees supported her and the baby.

Arthritis is a horribly disabling disease, twisting the joints and attacking muscles with pain so terribly hard to describe. The best I could come up with was:a fingernails down the blackboard, gears grinding over and over in a truck or car, or maybe the sound of silent tears.

Arthritis is a hidden disease. It is hereditary. If either of your parents have it, the odds are you will too. Often the onset of arthritis is caused by a great shock to the body. My mother was hit by a car as a young preteen. It can be brought on by a bad fall, a car accident, the death of a parent, sibling, or spouse. The shock does not have to be physical, it can be caused by great stress also.

There are over 100 types of arthritis. The two we hear the most about are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. Osteo attacks the bones and rheumatoid attacks the joints. Psoriatic arthritis attacks the skin. Other types attack your muscles, your glands and your organs. This disease can take over your life if you let it, but with some simple adjustments to your lifestyle, you can take your life back.

Do not get overtired, sleep 8 to 10 hours a night. Take a nap if you feel your energy collapsing. Accept the new limitations that have been placed on your body and work with them. You can often expand those limitations if you work gently with your body. Find a gentle form of exercise, swimming, water exercises, yoga or tai chi are good examples. Do not sit or stand in one place for long periods, move around. Eat healthy. Try to eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Eat or drink more soy products. Green, leafy vegetables are very good for you. Try eating more fresh vegetables and fruit. Eat less red meat. Try to limit your meat to cold water fish like salmon, tuna, herring or mackerel and some chicken. Drink plenty of water, vegetable soups and juices.

These are the things I have done to improve my quality of life. You will have to find your own combination of methods to help you. Arthritis is, after all, a very personal disease.

Inflammatory Arthritis - Types, Causes and Symptoms

What is Inflammatory Arthritis?

There are many forms of arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis is any form of arthritis that involves the immune system and inflammation. The characteristic symptoms of inflammation are swelling, heat, redness of skin, pain, and loss of function. There are different types of inflammatory arthritis.

Autoimmune Disorders

  • The body treats it own tissues as a foreign object and reacts to this foreign object with inflammation

  • Rheumatoid arthritis - antibodies produced by the body attack the synovial membrane that encloses each joint

  • Lupus - systematically affects connective tissues and organs

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis - a progressive form of arthritis that causes inflammation of the spine and large joints

  • Reiter's Syndrome - a chronic, progressive disease that can affect the joints, tendon attachments, skeleton, and the eye's conjunctiva and mucous membranes

  • Psoriatic arthritis - causes inflammation of the skin and joints

  • Inflammatory bowel disease - inflammatory arthritis can be associated with this disease

Other Causes of Inflammatory Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis can be caused by other conditions, as well. Reactive arthritis is caused by certain types of bacteria and can develop from an infection in another part of your body. The deposit of crystalline structures in the joints causes gout and pseudogout. Elevated blood levels of uric acid, which is a waste product, can form in the joints when the kidney does not properly dispose of the waste.

Symptoms of Inflammatory Arthritis

The symptoms of inflammatory arthritis can include the following:

  • Pain in one or more joints

  • Swelling in one or more joints

  • The affected joint is usually warmer than other joints

  • Stiffness and decrease of ability to move affected joints

  • Symptoms may appear after a minor illness or emotional stress

  • Skin around joints may become red and tender

Treatment of Inflammatory Arthritis

The symptoms of inflammatory arthritis can be treated with medicines or natural remedies. However, it is very important to find the cause of the arthritis so that the root problem can be treated as well. Medications can be used to treat the pain and inflammation, but there are many natural remedies that have been more successful in treating the cause of the inflammatory arthritis. If you use medications to relieve the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis, be sure to learn of any side effects or reactions to other medications or food.

Some natural remedies for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis include:

  • Exercise - a regular exercise regimen helps to avoid stiffness of the joints associated with inflammatory arthritis

  • Water aerobics - endorphins produced in the brain during water aerobics can help ease the pain of inflammatory arthritis

  • Valerian - this can be used to treat the pain of inflammatory arthritis. This natural medication is a known sedative and caution should be used - some people have experienced withdrawal symptoms when stopping abruptly.

  • Comfrey - a comfrey salve can be used to reduce the inflammation of the affected joints

  • Mangosteen - this fruit has been shown to relieve both the inflammation and pain associated with inflammatory arthritis

  • Omega-3 fatty acids - can be found in foods such as cold-water fish, walnut, and flaxseeds.

Diet for Inflammatory Arthritis

Diet is also another way that you can prevent or lessen the symptoms associated with inflammatory arthritis. A healthy diet is important for overall health. There are some foods that can trigger the onset of inflammation in the joints and some foods that decrease the onset of inflammation. If you suffer from inflammatory arthritis, you should eliminate milk and milk products. You should avoid polyunsaturated fats and products that are made with partially hydrogenated oils. The best kind of diet for those who suffer from inflammatory arthritis is low in protein and high in carbohydrates. Some of the common foods that can trigger the symptoms of arthritis are milk and dairy products, beef, corn, and wheat. Avoiding these foods can help you to avoid triggering the symptoms. In general, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you to avoid many of the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis.

What's New for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

One source of new information about rheumatoid arthritis is the annual American College of Rheumatology meeting. This year's meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia from November 7-11.

Some of the interesting findings ion rheumatoid arthritis are summarized below...

One study described the combination of etanercept (Enbrel) and methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis. The study found that disease progression is less frequent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who haven't responded to methotrexate alone if it is continued at the same time the biologic drug etanercept (Enbrel) is started. After randomizing "151 patients with active RA to etanercept, 25 mg twice a week plus methotrexate 6mg to 8 mg/week, or to etanercept alone," researchers found the following... Significant differences in joint erosion scores (joint damage scores) were seen after two years of combined etanercept plus methotrexate compared with etanercept alone. These results were reported by Hideto Kameda, MD, of Keio University in Tokyo, and colleagues at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Another hot topic at the American College of Rheumatology meeting is an investigational compound called JAK. JAK has attracted increasing interest as a drug target in rheumatoid arthritis because it's pivotal to the inflammatory response. It's an enzyme that serves as the traffic director for the release of tumor necrosis factor and other cytokines (protein messengers) that accelerate inflammation in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The weakness of JAK is that it is an enzyme whose effects can be blocked by an oral, small-molecule drug.

There are three forms of JAK simply known as JAK 1, JAK 2, and JAK 3. Pfizer has a JAK inhibitor called tasocitinib. Earlier reports from the ACR meeting about this compound showed that it was extremely effective as well as possessing an acceptable safety profile. Tasocitinib blocks JAK 1 and JAK3.

Tasocitinib is taken twice a day.

Another JAK inhibitor, called INCB028050, is a product from the Incyte company. Incyte has partnered with Eli Lilly to manufacture and market this compound. The drug produced ACR20 responses (at least 20% reductions in symptom scores) in up to 70% of patients after 24 weeks, and ACR70 responses in nearly 30% of patients, reported Maria Greenwald, MD, of Desert Medical in Palm Desert, Calif. INCB28050 selectively blocks JAK1 and JAK2.

INCB28050 is taken once a day.

Side effects of the JAK drugs include elevations in both HDL and LDL cholesterol of up to 25%, depending on the dosage.

Other side effects that have been seen in the clinical trials with these medicines include an increase in respiratory tract infections, viral infections, including shingles, drops in white blood cell count, increases in platelet count, and slight abnormalities in both kidney and liver function.

On a more mundane note, the drug, leflunomide (Arava), may be an acceptable alternative to methotrexate for use in combination with rituximab (Rituxan) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who can't take methotrexate.

Katerina Chatzidionysou, MD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, reported a study showing these findings at the American College of Rheumatology meeting.

A total of 29.1% of patients on leflunomide and rituximab had a good response at the six month mark. A number of research studies have shown that the B-cell targeting antibody drug, Rituxan, is beneficial in RA, and it has usually been given in combination with methotrexate.

But a big question for doctors has been how to deal with patients who have side effects with methotrexate.

Those of us who see a lot of rheumatoid arthritis patients find this information to be "old hat." But patients with the disease should find some helpful nuggets here.

Different Types of Arthritis and Natural Remedies for Joint Pain

There are many types of arthritis but here in this article we have listed some of its common types. Depending upon the nature of cause, arthritis may be divided in to the following types

1. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common and chronic form of arthritis. It occurs when the body's own immune system attacks the synovium or cell lining inside joint. Therefore this form of arthritis is often grouped as an autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis if not diagnosed in time, may lead to total loss of joint function and permanent disability. It also shortens life expectancy.

2. Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of joint cartilages. Generally the weight bearing areas like knee, hips, spine, and base of feet are invaded by this type of arthritis. It is the most common form of arthritis affecting elderly population.

3. Gout is another common form of arthritis caused due to accumulation or deposition of MSU or monosodium urate crystals at the joints.

4. Reactive arthritis is a form that occurs as an aftermath of infections like intestinal or genitourinary infections. Young adults are usually attacked by this type.

5. Ankylosing spondylitis is characterized by low back pain. This type usually attacks the spine and sacroiliac joints.

6. Psoriatic arthritis is often associated with psoriasis. It is an inflammatory form and may lead to serious conditions.

7. Fibromyalgia is a soft tissue arthritis caused due to defective functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain.

8. Polymyositis is a systemic condition affecting not only muscle around joints but also heart and lung muscles.

9. Pseudogout also occurs due to crystal deposition around joints. In case of pseudogout, the deposition of calcium pyrophosphate or hydroxyapatite occurs.

10. Polymyalgia rheumatica affects the hip, shoulder and neck regions, causing severe stiffness and pain. People over the age of 50 fall prey to this type of arthritis.

11. Lyme disease occurs due to infection by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted through deer tick bite.

12. Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease affecting woman during pregnancy. It may attack different internal organs.

Natural Remedies for Arthritis and Joint Pain

1. Hot vinegar massage can relieve joint aches.

2. Rubbing aching joints with warm olive oil also yields good results.

3. Essential oils like that of juniper, cypress and lemon have tissue cleansing properties, and can improve circulation of blood around joints.

4. Massaging aching joints with camphor mixed mustard oil can be of help.

5. Dandelion leaf extracts can increase urine output with its diuretic properties. Thus it can minimize arthritis symptoms.

6. Rubbing affected area with fresh potato juice diluted with water on the ratio 50:50 can help a lot.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Relieve Arthritis Symptoms Naturally

Arthritis is an ailment affecting the joints of the body. We all know that joint is a junction where two bones meet. One bone turns on the other, and aided by the contraction and relaxation of muscles around the joint, help us in moving our limbs, neck and back. While turning on one another, the bones become liable to friction; but specially designed cushioned pads called cartilages cover the bone heads at a joint, and stop the bones from rubbing against each other. These cartilages provide a gelatinous surface, and allow smooth and flexible movement of the joint. However with age, the cartilages become weak, fail to repair themselves after day to day wear and tear; the protein build up of the cartilages start degenerating.

The result is loss of cartilage and exposure of bones to friction. Bones rub against each other and get eroded. This leads to arthritis or joint inflammation. Obesity is another factor causing arthritis. As body weight increases, the load on the joints also increases. The cartilages wear out under excessive pressure exerted by increased body weight. Apart from age and obesity, heredity, previous history of bone injury or joint infection, calcium, potassium and phosphorus deficiencies, hormonal imbalances are other factors leading to arthritis. Among the several types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms.

Osteoarthritis occurs due to cartilage degeneration, and almost 80% of the world's elderly population is struck by osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune, systemic disorder attacking quite young people. In its case the body's own immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs by mistake, considering them to be foreign anti-bodies.

It is possible to check the progression of arthritis symptoms by slight alteration in life style and dietary changes. Light physical exercise is welcomed. If joints are left idle, the problem of stiffness will aggravate. However strenuous exercises and repetitive movements are to be shunned, for they may lead to further wearing out of affected joints. Alkaline diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables are to be taken. Meat, beef, pork increase the risk of gout, and therefore should be avoided.

The patient should keep away from smoking and alcohol intake, as these habits generate stress on body tissues and increase arthritis pain. Massaging can help a lot in fighting arthritis symptoms. Massaging gives a boost to blood circulation and relaxes the muscles around ailing joints. Hot vinegar, paraffin, castor oil, olive oil or herbal anti inflammatory massage oil such as Rumatone Gold Oil can be used for massaging. Warm water bath and alternate application of hot and cold compresses may relieve joint pain to some extent.

Joint Relief For Hands, Knees, and Elbows

You rely on joint function every day of your life. From elbow to knee your joints are one of the most important players in your body's mobility. Any type of pain or stiffness can affect your entire mood and mobility. Joint troubles from diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are considered chronic pains. These chronic diseases can cause stiffness, swelling, and pain in the hands, knees, and elbows. They can upset virtually any bone joint-even wrists, shoulders, feet, and ankles. Finding ultimate relief for these pains is the constant goal of nutritionists. Relief supplements can help reduce pain and swelling and increase range and mobility. They work to slow down the cartilage breakdown process and restore the cartilage and connective tissue that you still have.

Your hand has many different joints in it that work together to give your hand function. If you have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) you will notice the same pains in the same spots of either of your hands. For example, if one knuckle is having trouble on your left hand, you will feel the same on your right.

Your knees feel the entire weight of your body on a daily basis. They have a lot of pressure put on them and therefore go through a lot of wear and tear over the years. Buckling knees, painful knees, hot or swollen knees are all symptoms of unhealthy joints.

Poor elbow joints can keep you from being able to lift objects and carry them. You may feel discomfort when you are resting and at night time. You may not be able to fully extend your arm, it may feel heated or swollen around your joint, and you may not be able to flex your muscles.

Supplements can help improve the condition of your hands, knees, and elbows. One supplement should have the extracts in its formula to improve all of your joints. They can help produce or add the substances you need to support healthy cartilage and protective tissues. Products like chondroitin sulfate are backed by The Arthritis Foundation and can give serious relief to those suffering from an arthritis disease.

You can also find relief from exercising. Exercising can improve your flexibility and muscle mass. Exercise is especially important if it is your knees that are bothering you. Keeping your weight down can relieve a lot of pressure from your knees and cut down on wear and tear.

A Review of Senior Arthritis and Its Effects on the Elderly

Seniors face a number of health related issues, often simply as the result of aging, but also because over time their body is at an increased risk of developing an illness. Of the many conditions common to those over sixty, arthritis is one of the most commonplace disorders, which can have a very large impact on a senior's daily life.

One of the most common misconceptions about arthritis is that it only affects the elderly, but this is not actually the case. Arthritis can affect even children who are very young, however it is far more common among the elderly. In fact, among seniors, arthritis is the single most common mobility related disorder. Another misconception about arthritis is that it is only a single disease, but arthritis is actually a very broad term used to describe over a hundred different disorders.

Even though there are many different types of arthritis and it can affect the body in many ways, it is commonly a joint disorder, which affects the cartilage and bones around an individuals joints.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of senior arthritis and is called wear-and-tear arthritis, as a result of it typically being the result of time and use in a joint. The risk of this type of degenerative arthritis is much more common among those who play certain high impact sports, such as soccer, or professions such as farming, where the individual might perform the same repetitive motion over and over again. The Knee is the most likely joint to be affected by osteoarthritis, however it can also affect a number of other joints, including those in the hand or feet. Generally, this will only affect a single side of the body and not both sides at once, unlike many other types of arthritis.

Another common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, however this is generally not the direct result of joint use, but is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. With an autoimmune disorder, the immune system, which is the part of the body responsible for fighting infection, begins attacking healthy tissue and body parts. In rheumatoid arthritis, this results in the cartilage and are around a joint being broken down, resulting in joint damage. Unlike many other kinds of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can extend to organs as well as joints. In most seniors with rheumatoid arthritis, joints are attacked symmetrically, so that those on both of the side of the body are affected at once.

While rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are by far the most common kinds of elderly arthritis, with wear-and-tear arthritis being exceptionally common, there are over a hundred other kinds of arthritis and many affect the elderly. In addition, the elderly are at risk for a number of other diseases and conditions, like osteoporosis, which affects bone strength. In many seniors, it is a combination of these sorts of diseases working together that significantly decrease mobility, as well as increase the risk for injury.

Canine Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis can be a normal occurrence to dogs getting on in their senior years. Sometimes other illnesses or diseases can cause arthritis to occur to animals. Unfortunately, this can occur before they reach those golden years. Causes include cancer, injury, inflammatory disease, degenerative joint disease, and obesity.

Dogs can be such stoic bearers of pain that many pet owners may not notice that their pets are in any pain. Outward symptoms for canine arthritis include stiffness, limited mobility, reluctance to jump or climb (use stairs, for example), weight gain, and a general inclination to move around less. Veterinarians can diagnose canine arthritis through an examination and possibly x-rays.

Arthritis occurs when bone cartilage breaks down and is not replaced with new cartilage. Getting relief for dogs afflicted with arthritis involves a canine arthritis treatment plan that is multi-faceted. This plan includes pain relief, increased movement, managing weight loss, and joint repair.

The plan for pain relief often includes anti-inflammatory medication and pain medication. At home, owners should provide their pet with a warm, comfortable place to rest and sleep. Just as people with arthritis have discovered about their joints, dogs' joints will also feel better when they are kept warm. Extra blankets can help and so can a pet sweater. Dogs benefit from comfortable bedding. Consider getting a foam pad or other bedding that alleviates pressure points on the joints.

A treatment plan for canine arthritis should focus on movement for the pet. This component includes encouraging the pet to move around more and easing their movements in and around the house. Pet owners may install ramps or small steps to help dogs cross height barriers. They may need to think of easier ways for their pets to get outside to designated potty areas or even introduce indoor potty areas. Pet owners should be careful not to encourage strenuous activity that puts too much stress on the joints (i.e. Frisbee jumping for example).

Extra weight can both contribute to and result from canine arthritis. When dogs weigh more than they should, they put excessive stress on their joints. This stress can contribute to or exacerbate arthritis. A weight loss plan often helps dogs with arthritis. Elements of the weight loss plan include reducing how much the dog eats, providing special diet food, or encouraging more exercise. All of these components may be necessary for a dog suffering from arthritis.

A final focus for canine arthritis will be on stopping further joint damage or to help with joint repair. For dog arthritis glucosamine is often suggested. Glucosamine is a necessary building block for cartilage development. Providing more glucosamine to the body helps with the maintenance and development of healthy bone cartilage.

Oral glucosamine falls into the category of dietary supplement. A newer term for this category is nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are taken with the idea that they provide medical benefits without being considered actual medicine. Omega-3 fish oil is an example of a nutraceuticals.

Because glucosamine is marketed as a dietary supplement and not a medicine, it may not have the same level of scrutiny as products introduced as medicinal. Therefore, pet owners should be careful about marketing claims that may accompany some glucosamine products. Overall, however, studies in Europe seem to indicate that glucosamine can be a helpful part of a canine arthritis treatment plan. Dog arthritis glucosamine does not appear to do any further damage, at the least.

Glucosamine is also available in an FDA approved Injectable medication. Adequan is the brand name for this new drug. Adequan will need to be administered on a routine basis to help minimize further arthritic development.

While most dogs handle glucosamine without any trouble, possible side effects include nausea and vomiting. As part of their canine arthritis treatment plan, pet owners should discuss any side effects with their veterinarian. The veterinarian might be able to prescribe other medications that can ameliorate unpleasant side effects associated with glucosamine consumption.

Even the best glucosamine for dogs cannot be completely discontinued or the resulting benefits may cease to exist. However after an initial heavy dosage, the amount of glucosamine given as part of the canine arthritis treatment for joint repair will often be reduced.

Always consult with a veterinarian before deciding on a canine arthritis treatment. Dogs can suffer from arthritis the same as humans and treatments may be similar. Proper dosage, however, as well as consideration of contradictions should be fully investigated.

Arthritis - Types and Prevention

Arthritis is a disease that causes damage to the joints of the body. There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis but the most common is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease.

Osteoarthritis results when the cartilage of one or more joints breaks down and is lost. This leaves the joint with no cushion or lubrication and the exposed surfaces of the bones simply to grind against each another. Osteoarthritis afflicts over 20 million Americans and countless more around the globe. There is no known cause for this disease, but since it occurs primarily in older people, I submit to you that it is caused by the wear and tear of living one's life. This type of osteoarthritis, for which there is no known cause, is referred to in the medical world as primary osteoarthritis.

Primary osteoarthritis occurs most often in the hands, feet, spine, hip joints and knee joints. It is an equal opportunity disease affecting all races proportionately.

When the cause of the osteoarthritis is known, it is called secondary osteoarthritis. Some common causes of secondary osteoarthritis include obesity, trauma, congenital abnormalities, surgery, gout, diabetes and other hormonal disorders.

Since the cause of osteoarthritis is, by definition, unknown, we will turn our attention to secondary osteoarthritis and see what we can learn about prevention.

Obviously, we cannot prevent congenital abnormalities, avoid needed surgery, or escape all traumas. That leaves us to focus on obesity, gout, and diabetes.

We'll begin with gout, which occurs when uric acid crystals are deposited in joints, tendons and surrounding tissues. The best preventive measures are avoiding obesity, reducing the intake of meat and seafood, limiting alcohol and fructose consumption, and getting plenty of vitamin C. Recent studies show a low calorie diet is helpful and so is coffee and dairy consumption.

Obesity, another leading culprit in secondary osteoarthritis, is preventable in most cases. Proper diet and regular exercise will keep those extra pounds at bay.

Diabetes, at least Type 2 diabetes, can be prevented to some extent. Some proven preventive measures include, maintaining an appropriate weight to height ratio, eating a low-fat, high fiber diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and taking proper care of existing medical conditions. Those afflicted with Type 1 diabetes would do well to maintain a strict regimen that maintains blood sugar levels as near normal as practicable.

So here is the bottomline. If you are going to get arthritis, statistically speaking, it will be osteoarthritis. It will come upon you because you are getting older, which is a good thing compared to the alternative.

Other primary types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, a truly ugly condition that afflicts about 1% of the world's population. Septic arthritis is caused by an infection in the joint. The infection invades the cartilage and ultimately destroys all or part.

Arthritis costs the United States roughly $50 billion in lost wages and $50 billion in health care costs. Arthritis results in about 1 million hospitalizations annually and fully 45 million visits to outpatient health care centers and clinics.

Arthritis Treatment: Your Options

Arthritis treatment is one of the best options you have for getting long term relief from this painful condition. Arthritis refers to a joint disorder accompanied by inflammation. The causes maybe related to an overactive immune system or wear and tear of the cartilage. Usually, arthritis affects people within the age group of 20 and 50, but can even affect infants. The average onset age is about 47. The first and most important step towards effective treatment is consulting a good doctor, as the condition requires accurate diagnosis. With over 100 different types of arthritis, it becomes all the more necessary that your condition be accurately diagnosed.

Texas Arthritis Treatment: Various Types of Arthritis

In Texas, various arthritis treatments offer effective procedures for a number of arthritic conditions. Here are some of the common types of arthritis.

* Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is the most common inflammatory type of arthritis. It affects about one percent of the total population and is the auto-immune form of arthritis. It is characterized by the inflammation of the synovial linings of the joint. At the onset, it affects the smaller joints, such as the wrists, hands, feet and ankles. As the condition progresses, larger joints also get affected.

* Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis is often associated with old age. Mainly, the weight bearing areas, such as the hips, spine, knees, feet and the base of the thumbs, are affected by osteoarthritis. It is characterized by the loss of new bone formation, articulating cartilage and development of bony spurs.

Apart from these, other types of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, gout, pseudo gout and reactive arthritis.

Texas Arthritis Treatment: Treatment Procedures

There are a number of effective treatment procedures:

* NSAIDS: Non Steroids Anti Inflammatory Drugs help patients with arthritis get relief from swelling, stiffness, inflammation and pain of the joints.

* Joint Replacement: This involves a surgical procedure and is recommended for people whose joints have been severely damaged by the condition. The damaged joint is taken out through surgery and a replacement part is put in its place. On recovery, patients can resume about 75 percent mobility. Joint replacement is quite an effective form of treatment for arthritis.

* Other Surgical Procedures: Apart from joint replacement, surgeries can be carried out to repair damaged tendons. Surgical procedures may also involve the removal of the joint cavity or the removal of the bone. In some cases, the pain in the joint is because of nerves becoming trapped, which can be corrected through surgical procedures.

How Rheumatoid Arthritis is a Life Long Struggle

There is no shortage of rheumatoid arthritis treatments. A great many researchers are working on ways to relieve the pain, disfigurement and discomfort of RA. But doctors say there is no cure! However, there is hope.

In recent years, researchers have developed a number of treatments that make life easier for the RA patient. The goal is to provide as normal a life as possible for the sufferer with the lowest level of discomfort, disfigurement and interruption of a normal life.

Until a cure is found, doctors find themselves minimizing joint damage, disfigurement and pain while enhancing the patient's ability to engage in enjoy a quality lifestyle. Doctors have also learned that it's far easier for the patient if families and loved ones understand what is happening - that is, the nature of RA.

So, what can actually be done? Three classes of drugs are usually utilized for rheumatoid arthritis treatments:

1) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (or NSAIDs),

2) disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (or DMARDs) and.

3) corticosteroids.

The major benefit of NSAIDs is to relieve inflammation. That decreases pain and improves function. However, NSAIDs alone can't change the course of the disease nor prevent destruction of the affected joints.

For years, aspirin was the primary treatment - and still relieves pain quite effectively. However, it often causes stomach discomfort and has to be taken repeatedly during the day. Thus, many doctors have replaced it with other NSAIDs.

Fortunately, there are quite a few to choose from.

Over-the-counter NSAIDs include naproxen sodium (such as Aleve簧) and ibuprofen (such as Advil簧, Motrin簧 and Nuprin簧.

Prescription NSAIDs include choline magnesium salicylate (Trilasate簧), diclofenac (Cataflam簧, Voltaren簧, Arthrotec簧), diflusinal (Dolobid簧), etodolac (Lodine簧), indomethicin (Indocin簧), ketoprofen (Orudis簧, Oruvail簧), meloxicam (Mobic簧), nabumetone (Relafen簧), oxaprozin (Daypro簧), piroxicam (Feldene簧), sulindac (Clinoril簧) and tolementin (Tolectin簧).

Many patients prefer naproxen sodium since it can be taken once every 12 hours - rather than four times a day as with some of the others.

NSAIDs provide quick but short-term help.

DMARDs can take several weeks or months. Among those most commonly used are abatacept (Orencia簧), adalimumab (Humira簧), anakinra (Kineret簧), antimalarials, azathioprine (Imuran), cyclophosphamide cyclosporin A, d-penicillamine, etanercept (Enbrel簧), gold salts, infliximab (Remicade簧), leflunomide (Arava簧), methotrexate, rituximab (Rituxan簧) and sulfasalazine.

Most are very effective in preventing cartilage damage and the bone erosions that can come as early as during the first two years of the disease. As a result, many doctors prescribe a DMARD as soon as RA is diagnosed.

But since DMARDs can be so slow acting, aspirin and other analgesics are also taken since they are so effective in decreasing pain - but not in stopping the disease's progression.

So, NSAIDs are taken to ease discomfort, particularly until DMARDs take effect.

Corticosteroids are the third category of drugs used with RA. These are often prescribed for patients with severe cases who aren't responding to NSAIDs or DMARDs. However, there are side effects such as weight gain, puffiness around the face, redness of the cheeks, and even such oddities as the development of a "buffalo hump" over the neck.

Any rheumatoid arthritis sufferer is wise to stay current of new developments - and to ask their doctor whether this or that "wonder treatment" on the internet actually works.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Osteoarthritis - A Degenerative Joint Ailment

Osteoarthritis like diabetes is a chronic dysfunction. If not treated it can become quite dangerous, and then it is termed as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage - a vital bone tissue -- gets disconnected. It is this cartilage that acts as the grease between the bone joints. When cartilage -- owing to osteoarthritis -- disappears, the bones become stiff. Under such abnormal circumstances whenever the bones rub one feels acute pain.

You would be surprised to know that there are more than 100 types of osteoarthritis. The most common one is osteoarthritis, or OA as explained above. The next in line according to the number of people affected is Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA. In this case, some lacunae in the immune system causes inflammation of the bone joints. Such a syndrome usually begins in the lining of the joints called the synovium. With time, RA damages the bone as well as the cartilage. Importantly, RA strikes both the sexes although it is more common among the womenfolk. RA affects similar joints and that too on the patients' both sides. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects the same joints on both sides of the body.

Mentionably, chronic and acute osteoarthritis are different from each other. The chronic state continues for years on end or may even continue for a person's lifetime. There is still no unanimity as to the exact causes of osteoarthritis, and hence there is still to evolve a precise treatment method for this disability disease.

The best means to control osteoarthritis is to follow the doctor's advice and strictly follow the prescribed regimen. Such a systematic lifestyle can definitely lessen the painful stress. First start monitoring the osteoarthritis symptoms. Then, discuss the signs with your physician and immediately make him aware of the new symptoms that may appear. Heredity can also be a main cause of the disease. At times, several of these symptoms may come together to cause osteoarthritis. Check obesity and regulate your weight to control osteoarthritis. Too much of physical weight puts unwarranted load on the cartilage and joints. Usually, our knee and hip joints carry the lion's share of our weight. Ensure that you do not put that extra load on these sensitive but very useful tissues called cartilage.

The reason why osteoarthritis generally happens with reference to the sportspersons is that they tend to put too much of pressure on particular parts of their bones and joints. This is exactly the reason why many players have to undergo repeated operation of the same portion of their joints over and over again. Hence never overuse the joints, otherwise there may be frequent breakdown of the cartilage. Moreover, repeated surgeries on particular joint parts can not only be expensive and a painful experience but can also weaken those affected portions.

Arthritis Diet: A Fast Guide

When I talk about an 'arthritis diet', I am referring to a specialised diet that a dietician or nutritionist has worked out for your specific case of arthritis. There really is no one, elite diet that will apply to all arthritis sufferers, so I will just refer to some common trends in these typical 'arthritis diets'.

In a nutshell, to fight arthritis, the best diet is one that is high in vitamins and minerals with sufficient good quality protein. Your carbohydrate intake should be from low GI sources and limited in fast-releasing sugar. Your fat intake should be low overall, yet consuming unsaturated fatty food is essential in an arthritis diet. Limiting food that you are allergic to, can prevent an inflammatory response by the body. Foods that irritate the digestive tract and hinder detoxification should be avoided. Typically these are foods containing gluten or dairy. To get the best result for your specific case, getting a dietician to work out a plan for your arthritis diet is a good idea.

A good, well-balanced diet is important for general health, but it becomes especially important if you have arthritis. Often people will need increased amounts of certain nutrients when they have arthritis. A healthy diet is strongly linked to a strong immune system. A strong immune system gives you an advantage for fighting any disease, especially inflammatory and auto-immune diseases like arthritis. You can either consume more whole, fresh foods containing these nutrients, or you can use good quality supplements to make up the shortfall. Most of the current research doesn't really make any strong connection between your diet as cause, or as a way of treating arthritis. Many people however, believe that certain foods can ease inflammation and swelling, while others avoid certain foods that may trigger a flare up.

As a general guide, anyone should eat a diet rich in oily fish, low-fat dairy (unless have lactose intolerance), fresh fruit and vegetables. Greasy, fried foods should be avoided as much as possible. Foods containing lots of refined sugar is not healthy and could lead to many health conditions. There are many claims, especially for different sources on the internet about certain foods and arthritis diets that will 'cure' arthritis. There is little evidence of one specific food provoking or calming arthritis symptoms, except when you are allergic to that food type. Mostly these claims are linked to some kind of commercial benefit for the companies involved. It is however true that specific, goal orientated supplementation can hold benefits for arthritis.

The other key aspect is to make your eating habits a part of your daily life. You should budget time and energy to buy the right foods and plan what you are going to eat every day. If we don't plan, it is so easy to resort to fast food or processed foods.

Here are some healthy arthritis diet basics for arthritis sufferers:

Healthy Arthritis Diet 101

The key to a healthy arthritis diet is variety, balance and moderation. A variety of low GI carbohydrates, low fat proteins, and fresh fruit and vegetables are universal diet basics that all people should follow. So basically, you need carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals in the right proportions for your arthritis diet.


Lately, there has been a lot of literature about the weight loss benefits of low carbohydrate diets. You definitely do not want to go this route if you have arthritis. Carbohydrates are the best source of sustained energy, feeding your body with the calories it needs to stay healthy and fight infection and disease. Carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes contain fibre, essential in helping the body to stay regular and remove toxins from the bowel. Carbohydrates also contain nutrients like calcium, iron, and the vitamin B group. Carbohydrates should ideally make up a third of the total calories that we consume. This means that you should consume about 6-14 portions a day, choosing as many wholegrain varieties as possible. As an example, 1 slice of bread, 3 tablespoons of cereal or a bread roll will constitute one portion.

Carbohydrates high in fibre and with a low GI are beneficial because the make you feel fuller for longer and does not spike blood sugar levels. The high fibre varieties are more bulky, so they take up more space in the stomach, making you feel full. This means foods like pastries, biscuits, sweets and too much sugar in you tea and coffee is not healthy and places pressure on the body to process.


Eating enough protein is essential keeping every single tissue in your body healthy. Protein is found in your organs, bones, muscles and skin. The whole body is made up of about 25% protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are about 25 different amino acids, 8 of which are essential- this means that the body cannot function without them. The others can be made from these 8. Good sources of protein are fish, chicken, eggs, red meat, dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds, lentils and tofu. These all have about 10g of protein per 100g (10% protein). This means that if you eat enough calories from quality sources, you are likely getting enough protein. In fact, most modern sources say that even if you are strictly vegetarian, you will get all the amino acids you need to stay healthy. However, you would have to eat a varied, healthy diet. These sources also contain the B vitamin group, zinc and iron.

Are you getting enough protein for your arthritis diet? You typically need about two portions of good quality protein daily to keep you healthy. These portions can come from meat or vegetarian sources. Keep lean meat down to four times a week and try to have fish at least 4 times a week. The other portions can be made up of foods like soya, tofu and beans. This amount of protein should roughly equate to about 10% of your daily caloric intake. The World Health Organisation recommends 10%, which is roughly about 35g of protein. A portion is about 100 grams of whatever source you choose.

Since protein makes you feel full quickly, some diets prescribe a lot of protein rich foods and cut out carbohydrates almost totally. This leads to a loss in muscle tissue, something that you really don't want if you have osteoarthritis. This is because your body needs the energy from carbohydrates to feed muscle tissues. People suffering from osteoarthritis need good muscle tone around the joint. So diets that promote high protein intake can be toxic to the body and lead to a reduction in muscle mass.

Fats and Oils

Contrary to what some sources might suggest, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet and especially for an arthritis diet. It provides a lot of energy and helps the body to absorb vitamins. We typically need about 25 grams of fat per day. The typical western diet is unfortunately packed with fat, way too much than what our bodies actually need. The benefits of a low fat diet stretches beyond weight reduction which will improve symptoms in the long term. Patients cutting down on fat intake feel rapid relief from symptoms.

There are however two types of fat, one good for you, and the other unhealthy in high levels. Saturated fat, found in red meat, butter, cakes, pastry, and most vegetable oils are unhealthy because they lead to high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels and most importantly, high homocysteine levels. This has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and other conditions. Homocyteine levels can be lowered by following the guidelins of an arthritis diet and by supplementing with a vitamin B complex. Saturated fats block the conversion of the essential (good) fats from being used to lower inflammation in the body. They also hold bad news for those who want to lose weight. Calories from saturated fat are more efficiently stored as fat in the body compared to calories from proteins and carbohydrates. These 'bad' fats should be scarce in your arthritis diet.

On the other hand, unsaturated fats, found in olive oil, oily fish, nuts, avocados and some margarines have long lists of health benefits. People consuming olive oil every day are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. They are good for fighting heart disease, lowering cholesterol and homocysteine and may actually reduce inflammation levels in the body. The ideal arthritis diet is one that is very low in saturated fat and sufficient in essential fats. A vegan diet (one excluding meat, fish, eggs and dairy) will definitely reduce saturated fat, but you run the risk of being deficient in vitamin D and B12. Vegans need to supplement these nutrients.

Vitamins and Minerals

The food we consume, especially fruits and vegetables contain much of the vitamins and minerals we need to keep us healthy. We should eat at least three fruit a day and a lot of vegetables with our meals. Some people with arthritis prefer to cut out some foods that they believe might aggravate their arthritis. When you cut out these foods, you are missing out on the nutrients in that specific food. A good idea might be to take that nutrient in a supplement form. Vitamins are also powerful anti-oxidants, especially vitamin C and vitamin E. Don't make the mistake cutting out citrus and tomatoes from your arthritis diet. There is no evidence that it will relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This will also mean that you miss out on a vital source of vitamin C. There is quite a lot written about the benefits of taking higher levels of anti-oxidants in your arthritis diet. Anti-oxidants help to neutralise free radicals, chemicals that can damage cartilage and cause inflammation.


70% of our body is water. Water forms an important part of your arthritis diet. For normal daily activities, we need about 1,5 litres of water a day. Drinking fruit juice, flavoured water and herbal tea can also count as fluid. Remember that coffee and alcoholic drinks are diuretics, so you end up with a overall loss of body fluid. Contrary to what some believe, water doesn't lubricate the joints, but it does help the kidneys to flush out the toxins in the body. An excess of toxins might be linked to worse symptoms. Drinking lots of fluids is linked to a strong immune system, since nutrients are carried throughout the body by means of water.


Salt is necessary to keep the correct water balance in the body. If you have hypertension problems, salt can make things worse. Most people probably eat too much salt. Do you put salt on your food without tasting it first? This can be a bad habit, since your sense of taste can adapt to less salt. More than a teaspoon of salt a day is probably too much already.


Alcohol need not be cut out totally from the arthritis diet. One or two drinks can actually fuel the metabolism, but obviously most alcoholic drinks contain a lot of calories, so it can contribute to weight gain. Alcohol can also exacerbate the side effects of many of the medications of for arthritis. Too much alcohol puts pressure on the liver to detoxify the alcohol. This is important because many of the arthritis medications also put pressure on the liver. Too keep things safe, men should not drink more than 3 units of alcohol a day and 21 units a week. For women, no more than 2 units a day or 14 units a week. A unit is about 1 pint of beer or cider. A glass of wine is about two units.

Controlling your weight

The best place to start a weight loss program is in the office of a dietician. These professionals are trained in the latest, most healthy ways of gaining or losing weight and in selecting your arthritis diet. Avoid wasting your time and money by following diets you found in a magazine or somewhere on the internet. If a diet claims fast weight loss, you should already be cautious, because losing weight quickly is not healthy. If you lose or gain weight, you should also inform your doctor, since it might mean that your medication has to be adjusted.


This is one of the risk factors for developing or worsening your osteoarthritis. If you are overweight, it places more stress on the weight bearing joint. More specifically, carrying more weight than you should puts pressure on the cartilage, which may be worn out already. Remember that the cartilage is only a few millimetres thick, so the pressure can grind it away so that you eventually have bone rubbing against bone. The joints in the hips and knees are especially vulnerable. Studies show that by losing just 5 kilograms over a ten year period can reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis by 50%.

Arthritis sufferers often become inactive because of their symptoms, leading to further weight gain. Depression because of the symptoms and the outlook can also lead to compulsive eating and a lack of motivation to exercise.

Being overweight also seems to make people with rheumatoid arthritis more prone to inflammation. Obesity also limits your options of having joint replacement surgery. Obese people are at greater risk for complications when receiving a general anaesthetic.

Besides affecting the symptoms of your arthritis, being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and various types of cancer like prostate and colon cancer.

If you want to lose weight there are a few principles to discuss with your dietician:

Eat regularly: Skipping meals will make your blood sugar levels fluctuate and make you feel tired. This could also cause you to be very hungry, leading to you eating too much at once. Eat before you feel hungry.

Eat about 6 small meals that fit in with your 'arthritis diet': This fuels your body regularly, speeding up your metabolism. A sluggish metabolism tends to go into storage mode.

Cut down on sweet drinks and foods: Many foods contain hidden sugar, so read the label. Remember that fruit juice contains a lot of calories, so don't drink too much. Two glasses a day is enough. Use a sweetener or some honey in your coffee and tea.

Snack on fruit and nuts through the day: If you feel hungry between meals, rather have a handful of nuts and a fruit.

Does Limu Help Arthritis?

Contrary to popular belief, this disease does not apply to just older people, arthritis strikes all ages, affecting millions of people throughout the world. Its not just linked with a condition of getting old, for many of the most serious forms or Arthritis are often found in younger adults.

Some Facts for you:

- It is 3 times more common in women than in men.

- Over 150 million people suffer from Arthritis in the US and Europe.

- 68% of people with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms are younger than 65. 8% are children under the age of 17

- 1 in 3 Adults have arthritis: 65% have it diagnosed, 35% live with it undiagnosed.

Arthritis and the effects of inflammation of joints, is one of the leading chronic health issues and causes increasing disability to people over the age of 16.

So what is Arthritis?

The word arthritis literally means joint inflammation (arth=joint, ritis=inflammation), and refers to more than 100 different diseases.

There are over 100 kinds of arthritis that can affect many different areas of the body. In addition to the joints, some forms of arthritis are associated with diseases of other tissues and organs in the body. People of all ages, including children and young adults, can develop arthritis.

Inflammation is a reaction of the body that causes swelling, redness, pain, and loss of motion in an affected area. It is the major physical problem in the most serious forms of arthritis.

Normally, inflammation is the way the body responds to an injury or to the presence of disease agents, such as viruses or bacteria. During this reaction, many cells of the body's defense system (called the immune system) rush to the injured area to wipe out the cause of the problem, clean up damaged cells and repair tissues that have been hurt. Once the "battle" is won, the inflammation normally goes away and the area becomes healthy again.

In many forms of arthritis, the inflammation does not go away as it should. Instead, it becomes part of the problem, damaging healthy tissues of the body. This may result in more inflammation and more damage - a continuing cycle.

The damage that occurs can change the bones and other tissues of the joints, sometimes affecting their shape and making movement hard and painful. Diseases in which the immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy parts of the body are called autoimmune diseases

How Can Limu help you?

Three are many things you can do to help prevent arthritis.

1) Be Physically Active - Research proves that activity of a physical nature improves function and decreases pain.

2) Manage Stress - Stress aggravates many health conditions including arthritis, so you need to learn to control stress

3) Eat a Nutrient-Rich diet - It is important to keep your weight controlled as well as keeping your systems running smoothly.

Science suggests that Limu can help many problems associated with arthritic conditions. Limu is a seaweed that contains the polysaccharide fucodian, which is proven to be effective against many of the diseases of this day and age. Limu also contains many nutrients that can help boost your bodies immune system and offer an influx of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Limu should be an important part of your daily diet.

Limu's Super Nutrient - Fucodian

The overall findings of a large body of research, coupled with anecdotal evidence provided by a long history of use of fucoidan-bearing seaweed in areas such as Japan, Hawaii and Tonga, indicate that fucoidan demonstrates great potential as a safe nutritional answer for a wide variety of health complaints. Fucoidan is found in the sea plant called Limu Moui.

This antioxidant rich, complex carbohydrate polysaccharide lowers the risk or arthritis and other inflammatory disorders by acting as and ant-inflammatory agent, bolstering the immune system, and helping to cope with stress.

Fucodian Benefits Arthritis

- Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent
- Relieves pain better
- Supports and aids the immune system
- Helps the body copes with stress
- Aids in keeping the endocrine system's cortisol levels, which are activated by stress, under control.
- Eliminates food cravings
- Helps you loose weight
- Aids in Tissue repair

Why use Limu?

For over 3000 years the natives of the south pacific island of tonga have known about the astonishing benefits of Limu Moui - a brown seaweed that grows beneath the clear waters surrounding the islands. In these untainted, pristine waters, Limu is able to absorb trace minerals and vital nutrients found ther in a readily-available form.

Researchers wanting to unlock the mysteries of Limu's health benefits have conducted over 700 scientific studies centering on Fucodian, it most important factor. These studies have proven the unequalled nutrient power of Limu.

Live better with Limu Plus Limu Plus is a Limu drink which has helped many people with health conditions and stress related illness. View some testimonials of real people receiving real health benefits.

Limu has helps not just with Arthritis and joint Inflammation its health benefits can also be seen with Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease and general wellness.

Its suitable for men, Women, Children and even pets who wish to enjoy a better life.

Fighting Off Osteoarthritis With Fish Oil

Osteoarthritis can cause swelling and degeneration of joints that leads to painful movements, restricted movements, difficult movements, well, you get the picture. Once you develop osteoarthritis, there are a number of medications that you can take to help ward off inflammation and fight the pain. In fact, you may end up on a veritable arsenal of prescription drugs in an attempt to keep your mobility and keep the inflammation under control.

I knew a woman who nearly lost her job thanks to osteoarthritis. She was an editor for a number of publications released by a major university, and her entire job consisted of quickly turning around submitted materials in corrected form so that they could be published. When osteoarthritis started to attack her hips and her hands, she found herself unable to sit at a desk and unable to type effectively. All of a sudden, her job (which had never seemed like the type of job that would lead to a disability issue) was nearly impossible for her to perform.

Stop and think: how many of you reading would have some serious job performance issues if you could no longer sit at your desk for more than 20 minutes at a time or type on a keyboard? Probably most of you to some degree or another.

Fortunately, when she encountered this new difficulty, her employers gave her some time to resolve the problem. At first, she thought she would end up working from home in 15 to 30 minute stints, which was incredibly inefficient and aggravating. However, she soon learned that there might be other alternatives.

In addition to some specific medications to help her deal with the pain, her doctor recommended that she not only take glucosamine, which has been prescribed to osteoarthritis patients for years, but also an omega 3 fish oil supplement made from salmon oil. The salmon oil, full of omega 3 fatty acids, was used to tackle the problem at its core: the inflammation of her joints.

While we certainly cannot say that salmon oil alone saved her job, she did find that in the following months her joints were less inflamed and she was able to move with far less pain, making it possible to return to work and her regular schedule - not to mention her previous levels of productivity. If you experience joint pain and want to supplement your medications with a natural, effective anti-inflammatory, ask your physician if omega 3 fish oil could be the solution for you.

Learn more about omega 3 supplements at

You Can Cure Your Arthritis Hip Pain

Arthritis is fairly common and patients experiencing arthritis hip pain are usually over the age of 50. The most common of hip arthritis types is osteoarthritis. This is basically when the cartilage of the hip joint wears away due to the arthritis and that leaves the bone bare inside the joint itself. Hip arthritis tends to run in families but people who are overweight and those who have suffered from traumatic injury near the hip joint are most likely to develop arthritis.

If you aren't sure whether or not you have hip arthritis, determine if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

繚 Pain
繚 Poor range of motion
繚 Hip stiffness
繚 Limping while walking

If you think you may have arthritis, don't feel like you have to keep dealing with the arthritis hip pain. There are several treatments to try and they don't have to include dangerous prescription medications with uncomfortable side effects.

The first thing you could try if you're over your recommended weight is to lose a few pounds. This can drastically reduce the symptoms of hip arthritis and it's a natural and relatively easy treatment method if you think about it. It's also something you can do entirely on your own or with the help of close friends and family members.

You could also try using a single crutch or walking cane to help take some of the pressure off of the arthritic joint. This isn't something you'd necessarily have to do for the long term and it will help to reduce the pain.

Refrain from participating in any physical activity that seems to make your hips achy. Sprinting or stair stepping wouldn't be good exercises choices for you but you could try walking or swimming instead. Physical therapy can also help because it enables you to strengthen the surrounding muscles of the hip joint which can take some of the pressure off.

In severe hip arthritis cases you may have to undergo hip replacement surgery or hip resurfacing surgery. These should only be used as last resorts. You should try all of the natural methods first to save money and avoid any kind of prescription drug use. Weight loss is the method that is used the least and yet it's really so simple. It doesn't make sense to stay overweight if losing weight could mean a lot less pain for you and more use of your hip joint. The excess weight is hard on all parts of your body and when it's lost, your body will thank you for it.

You don't have to suffer from arthritis hip pain. If you think you may have arthritis in your hip try all of the natural methods first to see if they help. It could save you thousands in surgical costs.

Psoriasis in Nails: What It Is and How to Treat It

A certain percentage of psoriasis patients also have psoriasis of the nails. In fact 10-55 percent of those with psoriasis also have nail psoriasis and only about 5 percent of all patients with nail psoriasis are free of psoriasis of the skin. Both fingernails and toenails can be affected by psoriasis. Some patients with nail psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, especially involving the fingers and toes. Of those with psoriatic arthritis, up to 86 percent have nail psoriasis along with it.

Nail psoriasis is not contagious and is a hereditary condition involving the skin, joints and nails. People can be prone to psoriasis because of family history and up to 75 percent of children who have both parents with psoriasis will get psoriasis, too. There often needs to be a trigger, such as stress, trauma to the affected area, illness or immune problems that make psoriasis flare up. Both males and females are affected by nail psoriasis.

In nail psoriasis, the affected part of the skin is the nail bed, the soft tissue underneath the harder surface. When it becomes inflamed, it makes skin at an exceedingly fast rate and the fingernail can lift off the nail bed and separate away. The nails themselves can be ridged or can be pitted due to the psoriasis. The nail is discolored and looks a yellowish-reddish color that looks like a drop of oil or blood beneath the plate of the fingernail. Many feel the color is somewhat of a salmon color. Lines can develop in the nails that occur from side to side rather than the relatively normal top to bottom lines you'll see in fingernails and toenails.

You'll also see thickening of the skin beneath the nails and areas of white on the nail plate. This is referred to as leukonychia. When the top, hard covering begins to loosen it usually loosens from the tip and works its way down to the base of the fingernail or toenail. If it extends to the root of the nail, the nail will fall off. Infections, such as fungal infections of the nail bed, can occur because moisture builds up. Doctors have to treat both the fungal infection and the psoriasis to try and normalize the appearance of the fingernail.

Small black lines can run from the top to the bottom of the nail due to dilated capillaries beneath the nail itself that show up as black lines. The base of the nail fold can be reddened due to inflammation of the nail area. Many people have arthritis of the joints closest to the nails.

There is no cure for nail psoriasis but there are treatments that can make the area look better. An antifungal oral or cream-based medicine can be used to treat underlying fungal infections. You should trim your nails back short -- down to the point where the skin is attached to the plate. Be very gentle with your trimming, though, as being too rough on your nails will make them get worse.

Nail psoriasis can be treated medically or surgically. Your doctor can prescribe a steroid cream to put on and around the area to reduce inflammation. Topical vitamin A or vitamin D analogues can also be used on the nails themselves. Doctors can inject steroid medication underneath the nail itself, which works but can be very painful. Light therapy works for nail psoriasis using PUVA or UVB light. If you have psoriatic arthritis as well, the doctor can use systemic treatment with biologics or methotrexate that helps skin psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and nail psoriasis at the same time.

If the nails are really out of control, the doctor can chemically remove them by applying an ointment that dissolves the nails within seven days with no bleeding and minimal pain. Another route to removal of the nails is to surgically remove the nails under anesthesia. The nail beds can be treated for psoriasis and after the treatment works, new and healthy tissue can be seen growing from the base of the nails.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Review of a New TNF Inhibitor for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Up until the 1980's, the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis was less than satisfactory. We used drugs such as gold salts, d-penicillamine, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), sulfa drugs, and even tetracycline-derived antibiotics. For some patients who responded to these measures, the results were gratifying. But all too often patients either didn't respond or they developed horrendous side effects.

Approximately, fifteen years ago, biologic drugs such as the TNF inhibitors, entered the arena and revolutionized out treatment approach to rheumatoid arthritis.

While there are many biologic therapies with different mechanisms of action, this article will focus on one drug, a TNF inhibitor called Cimzia. The TNF inhibitors work by either attaching to tumor necrosis factor or blocking its ability to bind to its receptor on a cell. This action essentially renders tumor necrosis factor incapable of producing inflammation.

We currently have five TNF inhibitors available. I have adapted some of this information from a recent article by Dr. Phil Mease that appeared in Medscape.

Cimzia (CMZ) is a pegylated anti-TNF drug. What this means is that a polyethylene glycol chain has been attached to the TNF antibody. This attachment is supposed to keep the drug in circulation longer and also to keep it at the site on inflammation longer. This lengthier stay is supposed to enhance the effectiveness of the drug. CMZ is given as a subcutaneous injection every 2 or 4 weeks. One benefit is that it doesn't sting as much as some of the earlier TNF inhibitors such as Enbrel or Humira.

The safety and effectiveness of Cimzia in adult patients with active RA were established in three large phase III clinical trials, in which CMZ was given along with methotrexate or by itself. These studies showed that CMZ reduced the signs and symptoms of active rheumatoid arthritis and prevented the progression of joint damage.

The studies also evaluated factors such as patient reported outcomes and quality of life measures. After all, what good is the science if the patient doesn't feel that the medicine has helped them be able to get their life back?

All the clinical trials were in agreement in regards to the following: CMZ, in combination with or without methotrexate, improved the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as early as the first week of treatment. CMZ also prevented joint damage as early as 16 weeks. Patients reported significant improvements in quality of life measures. They also had significant relief of arthritis pain and fatigue, following treatment with CMZ.

The potential side effects of CMZ are exactly the same as with all other TNF inhibitors and these potential problems need to be discussed with the patient prior to prescribing the drug.

In our office we also go over a teaching schedule and have a patient sign an informed consent form.

Age and Age Related Change

1. Brain: Memory and Alzheimer's Disease

Many people become anxious about developing memory impairments as they transition into being senior citizens and begin to worry that forgetting details is the first sign of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Confusion and loss of memory were thought to be inevitable parts of aging in the past, but we now know that people can still be able and alert despite aging. Senior citizens and those responsible for providing their elder care should be aware of these changes in memory and work to prevent, identify, and treat them.

Over the past several years, researchers have been looking at a type of cognitive change known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This is separate from cognitive changes related to aging and often progresses to AD over some years. Senior citizens with amnestic MCI have a specific memory difficulty and have ongoing problems with memory, but they do not develop other losses seen in AD like confusion, attention problems, and problems with language.

2. Bones and Joints

As we age, our bones and movable joints are subject to wear and tear. The most common conditions among senior citizens in this area of the body are as follows:

Osteoporosis. This is a disease that causes bones mainly in the hips, backbone, and wrists to weaken to the point of breaking easily. As people, especially women, age into their 40s and 50s, bones start to weaken, and the outer shell of the bone gets thinner.

Arthritis. This is not one type of disease; there are many types of arthritis, and each has different symptoms and treatments. In general, arthritis can become a problem in most any joint in the body. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type in senior citizens. It begins when cartilage begins to wear away, and at its worst, all the cartilage in a joint is worn away, causing bare bones to painfully rub against each other. Conversely, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. People with RA have immune systems that attack the lining of their joints as if it were an injury or disease. It leads to inflammation in the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness for hours.

Consuming enough calcium and vitamin D and including regular weight-bearing exercise in your lifestyle are extremely important in preventing weak bones in senior citizens. Methods of improving quality of life and reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis include weight loss and exercises in light resistance and flexibility. In rheumatoid arthritis, the most effective treatment is drug therapy to modify the immune system response and decrease joint damage.

3. Eyes and Ears: Eyesight and Hearing Changes with Age

Eyesight usually declines around age 40, and cataracts and macular degeneration may develop around age 60. Hearing weakens with age.


Presbyopia. This is a gradual loss of ability to see objects close to you or read small print. This condition is normal in senior citizens, and a usual treatment is simply to get a pair of reading glasses.

Cataracts. These are areas of cloudiness in the lens of the eye that cause loss of sight. Generally, these form slowly without symptoms, and some remain small and do not interfere with vision. Others may grow large or dense, harming vision. Cataract surgery, which is very safe and common, can be very helpful.

Glaucoma. This is a result of fluid inside the eye causing too much pressure. Gradually, this pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to loss of vision and blindness. Often, senior citizens with glaucoma lack early symptoms of pain or pressure, but annual eye exams that include dilating your pupils can protect you from developing this disease.

Retinal disorders. These disorders are some of the most common causes of blindness in the United States. The most prevalent among senior citizens is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which affects the area of the retina that provides sharp central vision. Treatment of AMD includes photodynamic therapy, which uses a drug and a strong light to delay the progress of the disorder. Another common retinal disorder is a degenerative disease that affects vision and is called diabetic retinopathy. It is important that senior citizens seek appropriate medical care, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and have frequent follow-ups to help reduce its prevalence.

Two new drugs, ranibizumab (Lucentis) and bevacizumab (Avastin), are now being used to treat neovascular macular degeneration in senior citizens.


Presbycusis. This is slowly progressing hearing loss caused by aging.

Tinnitus. This is a ringing, roaring, or other noise that may come with hearing loss. It may be caused by loud noise, hearing loss, some medicines, and other health problems like allergies or problems in the heart and blood vessels.

4. Digestive and Metabolic.

Gastrointestinal problems are more common in senior citizens. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close properly, causing the contents of the stomach to leak back-or reflux-into the esophagus. If this sensation of heartburn happens more than two times per week, it may be considered to be GERD, which can lead to more serious health risks.

Many senior citizens are pre-diabetic, which raises their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

5. Urogenital.

Incontinence. This is the term for loss of bladder control, from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting, that is very common in senior citizens. It is not caused by aging alone; factors causing it may be urinary tract infections, vaginal infection or irritation, constipation, or certain medicines. Many cases of incontinence can be controlled or cured with treatment, so it is important to talk to a doctor or another involved in your elder care about this.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). The urethra, which passes urine, is surrounded by the prostate gland. Since the prostate gland grows with age, it may begin to squeeze the urethra. Tumors in the prostate may also contribute to this problem. This growth or unrelated infections may cause problems with passing urine. Some men experience this symptom in their 30s or 40s, whereas others do not notice this until a later age.

Prostate cancer. This is the second most common type of cancer in men in the United States. Frequent check-ups are important in identifying and treating this disease.

6. Dental: gingivitis, periodontitis, loss of teeth.

Tooth decay can occur regardless of age as long as you have natural teeth. It ruins the enamel that covers and protects the teeth. Plaque forms when you neglect your teeth and bacteria clings to them, forming a sticky, colorless film that can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Another factor in causing tooth decay is gum disease. Using a fluoride toothpaste can help protect your teeth, as it is just as helpful for senior citizens as it is for children.

Gum diseases. These are sometimes called periodontal or gingival diseases, and they are infections that harm the gum and bone holding the teeth in place. If plaque stays on the teeth for too long, it forms tartar, which brushing doesn't clean and which continues to damage the teeth. When plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, gingivitis is formed. Gingivitis can form areas in which your gums lift away from your teeth, forming easily infected pockets. This is called periodontitis, which, if not properly treated, can ruin the bones, gums, and tissue supporting the teeth. It could even loosen your teeth in time, warranting removal of those teeth.

7. Skin Care for the Elderly.

Staying out of the sun is the easiest and least expensive way of avoiding skin damage. Sunlight is the main cause of our changing appearance as we age-including wrinkles, age spots, and dryness. Smoking can also increase the number of visible wrinkles because the chemicals in cigarettes damage elastin proteins in the skin. Skin changes with age; for example, you sweat less as you get older, leading to more dryness. Skin also loses fat, causing it to appear less smooth. Still, senior citizens can take steps to protect themselves from the sun's harmful effects.

Dry skin. This appears mainly on the lower legs, elbows, and forearms and affects many senior citizens. Skin may feel rough, scaly, and itchy. This could be aggravated by low humidity, which can be worsened by overheating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Dryness is also caused by the loss of sweat and oil glands that accompanies aging. Other things that may lead to dry skin are overusing soaps, antiperspirants, perfumes, and hot baths or dehydration, sun exposure, smoking, and stress.

Skin cancer. This is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Three types of skin cancer are the most prevalent. These include basal cell carcinomas, the most common, which grow slowly and rarely spread; squamous cell carcinomas, which seldom spread but do so more often than basal cell carcinomas; and the most dangerous common skin cancer, melanoma, which can (often fatally) spread to other organs.

Shingles. This affects nerves, causing pain and blisters in senior citizens. It is caused by the same virus that afflicts people with chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus remains in some of your nerve cells and, for reasons unknown, can become active again rather than remaining inactive. This regained activity produces shingles.

Senior citizens with shingles feel sick with a rash on their body or face. Shingles targets older people rather than children, and about 20 percent of people who have had chickenpox as children will develop shingles after the age of 50.

8. Functional Abilities.

Senior citizens often suffer from injuries caused by falling. This may be caused by other changes, including loss of sight, hearing, muscle strength, coordination, or reflexes. Diabetes, heart disease, or complications with your circulation or nervous system may negatively affect balance, and some medicines can cause dizziness. Any of these could cause a senior citizen to be more prone to falling.

As with most problems experienced by senior citizens, the better you take care of yourself, the less prone you will be to falling. A test called a bone mineral density test can tell you how strong your bones are. If necessary, your doctor can use the results of this test to prescribe medications that will make your bones stronger and less likely to break.