Saturday, December 21, 2013

Arthritis Facts

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints that can at times disable the patient. The consequences of arthritis include joint disfigurement and constrained joint mobility.

Statistics of Americans with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms:

o 1985 - 35 million

o 1990 - 37.9 million

o 1998 - nearly 43 million (1 in 6 people)

o 2006 - 46 million (nearly 1 in 5 adults)

o Arthritis is said to be one of the most ubiquitous chronic health problems and is leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15.

o Arthritis is second only to heart disease as grounds of work disability.

o Arthritis limits daily activities such as walking, dressing and bathing for more than 7 million Americans.

o Arthritis results in 39 million doctor visits and more than a half million hospitalizations.

o Arthritis influences people in all age groups together with nearly 300,000 children.

o Baby boomers are now at chief jeopardy. More than half those affected are under age 65.

o Arthritis is a term used to refer to more than hundred different diseases that concern areas in or around joints.

General Information:

o Women - 24.3 million of the people with arthritis diagnosed by a doctor

o Men - 17.1 million of the people with arthritis diagnosed by a doctor

The disease also has an affect on other parts of the body. Arthritis causes pain, loss of movement and sometimes swelling. Some types of arthritis are:

o Osteoarthritis: a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joint deteriorates, causing pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against bone. It is the most prevalent form of arthritis.

o Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disease in which the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of the body's immune system activity. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types, affecting mostly women.

o Gout is a form which mostly affects men. It is usually the result of a defect in body chemistry. This painful condition most often attacks small joints, especially the big toe. Fortunately, gout almost always can be completely controlled with medication and changes in diet.

o Ankylosing spondylitis is a type that affects the spine. As a result of inflammation, the bones of the spine grow together.

o Juvenile arthritis is a common term for all types of arthritis that come about in children. Children may develop juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or childhood forms of lupus, Ankylosing spondylitis or other types of arthritis.

o Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus): a severe disorder that can agitate and damage joints and other connective tissues all over the body.
o Scleroderma: a disease of the connective tissues of the body that causes a thickening and hardening of the skin.

o Fibromyalgia: a form in which extensive pain affects the muscles and attachments to the bone. It affects mostly women.

Are You Suffering From Menopause And Arthritis?

Climb up to a life free from menopause arthritis

Recent studies have shown that women in their late forties and early fifties are displaying signs of menopause arthritis - a form of osteoarthritis triggered by menopause. Was it not enough that menopause brought on the hot flashes, night sweats and a variety of aches and pains which kept a woman up at night, that menopause arthritis has now been added to the list? The thought of a flight of stairs makes you want to balk and makes you want to move to a more comfortable but expensive apartment on the ground floor.

But before you start looking at adapting your lifestyle to accommodate this new phenomenon, understand what is happening with your body first.

Understanding what is arthritis

Osteoarthritis or arthritis is a common complaint of women in the age group between thirty to fifty years. Arthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage around the joints. As this wear and tear is gradual arthritis usually is a complaint of people belonging to an older age group.

Menopause arthritis - What is the connection between the two?

Arthritis has always been more of a complaint with women than with men. The logical hormone connecting menopause with arthritis then seems to be the hormone estrogen. When a woman's ovaries stop producing eggs during menopause her body experiences hormonal imbalances. Especially the levels of the hormone in a woman's body start reducing. Researchers have laid the blame for arthritis on estrogen because of the following reasons:

· The occurrence of arthritis in twice the number of women as the number of men suggests that the trigger to arthritis has to be some hormone exclusive to the female body

· Pregnant women have experienced the symptoms of arthritis more extremely than the average woman. A pregnant woman is also known to have higher levels of estrogen

There are multiple causes which trigger arthritis. While estrogen leads the race in this matter, there are other changes in the woman's body which affect arthritis. During menopause, owing to the hormonal imbalances, a woman is prone to gaining more weight. The weight gained adds more pressure on the knees, causing further wear and tear of the cartilage.

Besides estrogen, there are other hormones in a woman's body which experience the imbalance brought on by menopause. The secretion of these hormones causes the tissues and cartilages around the joints to deteriorate more rapidly.

Menopause arthritis can it be avoided?

There is no fool-proof plan which will keep you free from the clutches of menopause arthritis. However, the onset of arthritis can be prevented by taking small but simple steps:

· Applying hormone topical creams on aches and pains which begin early, can delay the onset of the arthritis. These creams are designed to balance out the estrogen levels in the body and hence help relieve the pain caused by inflammation

· Regulating your diet and switching to a gluten-free diet will make sure that you do not gain more weight and add more pressure on your knees, aiding the wear and tear of tissues around the knee joints. Weight gain also affects other joints besides the knee, like the back, ankles and wrists

· Using a mild anti-inflammatory cream during peri-menopause delays the onset of menopause arthritis

· Using supplements to strengthen the bones from an early age, prevents the early onset of arthritis

Menopause arthritis Herbs that can help

There are also home remedies you can resort to when you begin to first experience the aches in your joints. Indian researchers have placed great faith in the practice of Ayurveda and the use of medicinal herbs to ease aches and pains which lead to the arthritis caused by menopause.

· Boswellia - An Indian herb with no side effects interrupts the inflammation in the joints and the release of biochemicals which cause pain. Many women who have used this herb during perimenopause have had a menopause free of joint and back aches

· Turmeric - Turmeric is the wonder herb of India. The uses of turmeric are vast and varied, primarily used as an antiseptic to heal wounds, turmeric is known to have curcumin which reduces inflammation and eases pain. Application of turmeric paste over aching joints reduces the pain

· Cayenne - More popularly famous as a spice, Cayenne contains capsaicin which works as a soothing painkiller on joint aches. Capsaicin actually encourages the body to release its own hormones responsible for relieving pain

While menopause arthritis is a painful truth most women have to deal with, it does not have to become a way of life. There are natural and medical ways to prolong the onset of arthritis and to deal with its early onset. Switching to a healthier diet and taking care of your body from an earlier age will help you have a more comfortable and pain-free menopause.

In conclusion the best practices for handling arthritis or any of the other 34 menopause symptom is to take a proactive approach to staying healthy, eating a clean, adding more daily fibers to each meal, lower fat and sugar intake, and exercise at least 30 minutes everyday.

Arthritis - 3 Tips to Help Slow Its Progress

The main factors for susceptibility to arthritis are age, sex and it being heredity but there are steps you can take to minimize the onslaught of this debilitating condition.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is one option this includes exercising, eating correctly, practicing weight loss and using a safe natural herbal supplement.

More than 200 types of arthritis have been identified. While the more severe forms are crippling, the milder ones often go unnoticed, the most commonly occurring form of joint inflammation is osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear of a cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form. Arthritis statistically is known to affect three times the number of women as men and has been found in the bodies of young adults.

It is a common misconception that arthritis only affects older people, the fact is, that it can strike at any age.

Arthritis is known to be present in the bodies of around 20,000 children worldwide some as young as 12 years old. The signs of arthritis in children are often overlooked, these errors can be attributed to insufficient training in rheumatic diseases. In their five years of education, most medical students undergo a mere, two weeks, training period in rheumatology.

According to Peter Prouse, a rheumatologist at North Hampshire Hospital, it is very important to identify the condition at the earliest possible point in children. He states "The majority of children disabled by the disease are the ones who are mis-diagnosed in the first five years. This results in damage to the soft tissues around joints and the joint itself, they eventually cannot move either the knee or hip resulting in the wasting of muscles which inhibits normal mobility."

Here are 3 tips that may help reduce the progress of arthritis.

Weight Loss - When arthritis starts to set in people tend to lessen their physical activity due to the fear of the pain becoming too much to bear or causing further damage, this is the wrong thing to do as it can lead to the muscles becoming weaker which in turn can make you gain pounds or even cause obesity. Ensure that you have a healthy diet with ample fruit, fish, vegetables and a natural supplement if required.

Daily Exercise - like cycling, swimming or walking, to strengthen support muscles and keeping the joints moving helps with some of the characteristics of arthritis, these types of activity have helped many people cope with the discomfort caused by this painful disorder. Daily activity should also help muscle rejuvenation, relieve pain also help with the stabilization and ease the stiffness of joints.

Diet Control - Early research intimates that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, ginger, glucosamine (extracted from shellfish) and chondroitin (from cow cartilage) can reduce inflammation and pain and have a strong anti-inflammatory effect on arthritis.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

There are several types of arthritis, the most common of which are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is also sometimes called degenerative joint disease, and it is associated with aging. The primary underlying cause of osteoarthritis is wear and tear on the joints, which naturally occurs with the aging process.Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of and damage to the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly appears in middle age, and is far more prevalent in women than in men. There is no correlation between certain ethnic or racial groups and the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis, and it can also affect children and young adults.Clearly, the most common identifiable sign of arthritis is chronic pain in the affected region. Arthritis is frequently associated with pain and stiffness in joints, especially joints that have been injured in the past. Pain and stiffness may be most noticeable after being immobile for a period of time, such as after sleeping.

Swelling is also a very common symptom of all forms of arthritis.Arthritis frequently causes hip pain, knee pain, wrist pain, and pain, stiffness, and swelling in the finger joints. Another common symptom that can aid in the proper diagnosis of arthritis is a warm sensation around the affected area. A key indicator is the presence of symptoms in the same joints on both the left and right sides of the body. For example, if the same symptoms are affecting both wrists, it is a likely indication that arthritis may be the cause. A decreased ability to move the joint may occur in relation to the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, may also cause a general feeling of fatigue throughout the entire body. In some cases, a fever may be present.In severe cases, joint deformity may occur. With advanced progression of arthritis, a patient's range of motion can be significantly affected, possibly leading to the necessary use of a mobility aid, such as a cane. Symptoms associated with this degenerative disease that are persistent over a period of several months should be evaluated immediately.

Early diagnosis and treatment are helpful in slowing the progression of arthritis and ensuring a better, longer lasting fulfilled life for patients.Physical therapy and other natural and homeopathic remedies can greatly improve the symptoms of arthritis and help to slow the progression of the disease. Because arthritis affects the joints of the body, which are made up of ligaments and cartilage, certain herbal and mineral formulations can help to improve the elasticity of the ligaments and lubrication of the joint, improving comfort and reducing pain caused by damage to the area.Visit your health professional at your first concern that you may be suffering from arthritis. A proper diagnosis is the first step to formulating a treatment plan that will have you living life to the fullest, free of pain, for as long as possible.

Get Rid of Tendonitis Now! Advice From an Expert

Tendons are ropes of fibrous tissue that connect muscles to bones. It is this connection that permits joint motion. When muscles contract, they pull on the tendons which cause the bones to move. In order for tendons to glide they move inside a lubricated sheath of tissue that is lined with synovial tissue. This synovial tissue is the same type of tissue that lines the inside of joints. Tendonitis refers to a condition where the sheath through which a tendon glides becomes inflamed. This leads to severe pain. The pain usually gets worse with use of the affected joint. However, when tendonitis becomes severe, there may be pain at rest.

Since muscles and tendons surround most joints, tendonitis is rather common. The diagnosis of tendonitis is relatively simple for the experienced clinician. Generally, the diagnosis is made by history and physical examination. In difficult diagnostic cases, magnetic resonance imaging is helpful in confirming the diagnosis.

Some of the more common types of tendonitis are:

Shoulder tendonitis. The tendons in the shoulder that are most often affected are the rotator cuff and the biceps tendon. The rotator cuff consists of four tendons that sit on top of the upper arm bone. The location of these tendons and the muscles they attach to are what give the shoulder such an expansive range of motion. Rotator cuff tendonitis may occur as a result of repetitive activity or tendon degeneration. Pain is felt with most movements and is located on the outside part of the shoulder. The biceps tendon allows the arm to be flexed at the elbow. Biceps tendonitis also occurs due to repetitive activity and pain is felt in the front of the shoulder. Shoulder tendonitis can be treated successfully with anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and occasionally glucocorticoid injection.

Tendonitis in the elbow is usually located either on the outside and is called lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. It may also occur along the inside part of the elbow- medial epicondylitis. This is called golfer's elbow. Treatment consists of physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, splints, and injections. Rarely, surgery is required.

Tendonitis in the wrist arises because of repetitive motion. A special type of tendonitis, called Dequervain's tendonitis, is felt on the out side of the thumb. Tendonitis in these areas is managed with glucorticoid injections and immobilization with a splint. Other physical therapy modalities may be helpful. Sometimes surgery is required. Tendonitis in the fingers can lead to catching of the fingers. This is termed "trigger finger." Trigger finger usually responds to injection but may require operative intervention.

Tendonitis in the knee may affect the patellar tendon. This is the tendon that connects the knee cap to the tibia (lower leg bone). Patellar tendonitis usually occurs because of excessive jumping and is actually called "jumpers knee." This is treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.

Tendonitis in the ankle can occur along the outside of the ankle (peroneal tendonitis), the inside of the ankle (posterior tibial tendonitis), or at the back of the ankle (Achilles tendonitis). The tendonitis that occurs along the outside or inside of the ankle can occur because of trauma or because of mechanical instability. Another potential cause is an underlying arthritis condition. Achilles tendonitis often occurs as a result of excessive stress and repetitive trauma. The Achilles tendon is the thick cord at the back of the ankle that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. Treatment involves rest, elevation of the heel to take the tension off the Achilles tendon, and physical therapy. Glucocorticoid injection should be avoided because of the danger of Achilles tendon rupture. Anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful.

A new treatment approach has made the need for surgery less likely for patients with chronic tendonitis. The procedure is called "percutaneous needle tenotomy". In this procedure, a small gauge needle is introduced using ultrasound guidance. The needle is used to irritate the tendons stimulating the inflammatory response. platelet rich plasma, obtained from the patient's whole is then injected into the area where the tendons have been irritated. Platelets are cells in the blood that contain multiple growth and healing factors. The end result is the formation of new healthy tendon tissue.

When Treating Arthritis, There are Definite Foods to Avoid, and Specific Arthritis Foods to Eat

Foods to Avoid

You need to make sure that the calcium to phosphorus ratio in any of the foods you eat is as low as possible - this is because excess phosphorus will increase the loss of calcium from the body and worsen the condition. The more phosphorous-containing foods you eat, the more you need to supplement with a good source of calcium.

Reduce your intake of:

o red meat, red-fleshed fish

o most grains, especially wheat.


o soft drinks - high in phosphoric acid

o organ meat (liver, kidney), processed meat - especially high in phosphorus

o caffeine - increases the rate of loss of minerals and nutrients

o fried foods and vegetable oil - a high intake of fried foods and omega 6 from vegetable oil can make the inflammation worse

o sugar - results in poor absorption of nutrients

o antacids - neutralize stomach acid and result in poor absorption of calcium (heartburn and indigestion are caused by poor eating habits and NOT ENOUGH stomach acid!)

Important Note: Eliminate the bad fats such as margarine, cooking with too much vegetable oil and fried foods from your diet. A high intake of vegetable oil (a source of Omega 6) needs to be avoided as this will aggravate any inflammation.

Arthritis Foods

The best arthritis foods are diets high in calcium and magnesium and other trace minerals - this will ensure healthy bone and bone matrix structure. Specific nutrients are also required to build bone and bone structure.
Calcium: Non fat milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, snow peas, soybeans, tofu, sardines, salmon, walnuts and almonds, sunflower seeds, kale and other green leafy vegetables, broccoli, alfalfa seeds - to name a few. Milk isn't a great source of calcium because it has a low magnesium content and you need magnesium to get the calcium into your bones.

Magnesium: Many fruits and vegetables, whole grains, leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, bananas and apricots - all these make great arthritis foods.
Vitamin D: is required to get the calcium into the bones. The best source is the sun - about 10 minutes per day is fine. Other sources include dairy products and fatty fish.

Trace minerals: Boron and Manganese are important to help the body absorb Calcium; the best sources of Boron are green leafy vegetables, apples, almonds pears and legumes. For Manganese, look for ginger and oats as your arthritis foods.

Collagen & Support Tissues: Collagen is part of our bone matrix, the cartilage in our joints and in the fluid that protects and lubricates our joints. It's also part of our skin, hair and the connective tissues of the body.

Arthritis foods containing the following nutrients will provide nutrition for bone support: zinc, copper, selenium and beta-carotene (Vitamin A). Green leafy vegetables and pumpkin seeds are good sources of zinc; selenium may be found in brazil nuts from Brazil (because of the high selenium content in the soil); while Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and spinach. Eggs and meat are good sources of amino acids which form part of the collagen structure.
Essential Fatty Acids - are excellent arthritis foods and are required for the body's natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory responses. They are also part of the protective joint fluid. Best sources are from fish (particularly oily fish such as salmon and mackerel), animal fat and some oils such as flaxseed (for omega 3)and borage oil (for omega 6).

Regarding essential fatty acids, ideally you should consume Omega 6 EFA & Omega 3 EFA at a ratio of 2:1. Most people find it very difficult to get this right (the average ratio in the U.S. and UK is around 10:1) so we suggest you use an EFA Supplement from a quality source.

Final Note on Arthritis Foods

While it is possible to meet some of your dietary requirements from the food you eat, if you are serious about preventing or reversing arthritis, you need to consume these arthritis foods in combination with nutrient supplements.

Also consider that the majority of the food we eat is grown in minerally-depleted soils - so an almond may not contain all the calcium and magnesium it's supposed to have, sad but true!

If you have a busy lifestyle, eat junk food and/or can't get enough fresh food in your daily life, then you should consider supplementing with all 90 essential nutrients including plant derived colloidal minerals and supplements containing vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Calcium and magnesium are normally very difficult to absorb from our arthritis foods diet and from supplements, however, calcium liquid supplements containing Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin D and Glucosamine are a good way to supplement your diet.

Supplements that specifically assist with maintenance and repair of the joint such as Glucosamine, are also beneficial. If you suffer pain and inflammation, then CM Cream has been scientifically and medically proven to relieve pain and improve mobility.

The use of a digestive enzyme supplement - will improve the absorption of the good arthritis foods you eat and will maximize the benefit you receive from taking supplements. As we all reach the age of 40, our stomach acid concentration begins to fall and this can lead to complications of existing chronic disease conditions, such arthritis.


1. Avoid foods high in phosphorus - particularly SOFT DRINKS, processed foods, processed meat and organ meat. No fried foods, cooking oil or margarine - use butter small amounts of extra virgin olive oil.

2. Eliminate caffeine and sugar from your diet and stop taking antacids.

3. Consume food with a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables and eggs. Reduce your intake of red meat and fish.

4. Consider the use of supplements to support and reverse your arthritis, and digestive enzymes to maximise the absorption of the food and of the supplements.

Are The New Biologic Drugs For Rheumatoid Arthritis Worth The Cost?

The standard beginning therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) consists of methotrexate as a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) and either a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or low dose prednisone. While these drugs do work to a certain extent, they rarely induce remission.

TNF- inhibitors such as Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade have revolutionized our approach to RA and have enabled rheumatologists to get patients into remission.

The high cost of biologic agents has brought "pharmacoeconomic" considerations as a factor to deal with in the care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. There is an increasing amount of data confirming the substantial cost implications of various arthritic conditions. For the TNF inhibitors, the clinical effectiveness needs to be factored into an assessment of their value.

In RA, there is a growing body of data addressing the potential cost-effectiveness of TNF inhibitors. As a result of their remarkable clinical efficacy, it appears that TNF inhibitors may have an incremental cost efficacy in RA.

Much of the data upon which this is based come from follow up of patients participating in clinical trials of these agents over the past decade. In general, changes in health states, using specific quantifiable measures of performance of activities of daily living have provided proof of cost effectiveness.

Using anti-TNF drugs and then measuring their effect on ability to function has provided the ability to define the level of response to treatment in terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained.

A number of studies have shown improvements in work status with treatment.
Other studies have begun to explore the effect of TNF inhibitor treatment on employability; in one study, such treatment significantly improved employability and reduced days missed from work.

In addition, ongoing studies are developing models comparing the outcomes of patients who are capable of productive work versus what would happen in the event of progressive disease and crippling. A patient who doesn't have access to an anti-TNF drug and becomes crippled can't be a positive producer to the economy. On top of that, there would be a negative impact on the economy in terms of dollars needed for health care support of that patient.

Unfortunately, insurance companies who set up barriers to the access of these medicines have a very shortsighted view of the picture. Hopefully, further studies that document the value to society and to the individual of remaining productive and having a better quality of life will change this situation for the better.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Avoid Osteoarthritis Pain Early in Your Life & Later in Life With Chondroitin Liquid

Joint pain is not something that occurs suddenly. It occurs over time. In order to maintain your joint health, one must first understand joints. A joints composition is pretty complex but the short version is this: where bones meet via a grouping of cartilage and fluid.

These fluids and cartilage are what provides cushioning between bones so when you move about, your bones don't collide. When your bones and or cartilage collide or have pressure on them, this is where joint pain comes from.

Joint health is something that in order to avoid future complications must be addressed earlier in life. One must in ingest adequate amounts of essential fatty acids (EFA's). An example of a fatty acid is fish oil. Therefore, eating fish will provide your body with some essential fatty acids. If you're not the fish eating type, you can simply look up the types of foods that have these EFA's.

Almost all the polyunsaturated fat in the human diet is from EFA. Some of the food sources of fatty acids are fish and shellfish, flaxseed (linseed), hemp oil, soya oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts. It is not hard to find these in daily diets.

The point of providing you these food sources and suggesting that storing these types of EFA's early in life is because once osteoarthritis sets in, it is pretty difficult to build them back up with out some sort of supplementing surgery. Chondroitin liquid is a precursor to healthy joints but has not shown significant results in rebuilding joint health.

Simply put, if you don't like to eat any of the foods mentioned above, don't like to take pills, are overweight, and even have genetic disposition for osteoarthritis, then take chondroitin liquid on a regular basis. It will save your joint health if you start on it early enough in life.

Natural Relief for Arthritis Joint Pain

Arthritis comes from the Greek arthro- meaning joint and -itis meaning inflammation. Arthritis joint pain causes a spectrum of pains from mild and intermittent annoyance to debilitating, life-altering agony. While there is no known cure for arthritis, the joint pain caused by the disease can be treated to improve the arthritis sufferer's quality of life.

Managing body aches caused by arthritis doesn't have to involve a narcotic, numbing out experience. There are natural solutions for treating the pain. One of the most promising discoveries in the battle against arthritis joint pain, whether the pain is in your knee, back, fingers, or hands, is Natural Eggshell Membrane, or NEM, for short. NEM is derived entirely from egg, so unless you have an egg allergy, it does not produce the side effects caused by prescription drugs. It is also vegetarian friendly, which makes this a great product for herbivores and omnivores alike.

NEM contains glycosaminoglycans, better known to us common folk as glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. Before I explain how these carbohydrates help your joints, it's important to understand the basic structure of a joint. A joint is formed where two bones meet head to head. The joint is the cushion between the bones that keeps them from rubbing together and eroding each other. The connective tissue is called articular cartilage. The articular cartilage is lubricated by synovial fluid. A major component of synovial fluid is hyaluronan, from which hyaluronic acid is derived. Hyaluronan adds to the viscosity, or rich thickness, of synovial fluid. The lubrication provided by synovial fluid is important.

Imagine that your articular cartilage is a rubber band. Now, a new rubber band is very stretchy and flexible. But what happens to a rubber band when it gets old? When it sits out in the sun for days or weeks, when it gets dried out? It becomes brittle and will snap quite easily, or even crumble. It loses its ability to bounce back and to stretch and move comfortably. A similar effect happens when your articular cartilage is deprived of proper and adequate lubrication. The resulting joint pain - be it in your knee, back, hands, or fingers - is a result of both damage to the connective tissue or articular cartilage, and, potentially, your bones beginning to erode each other.

While arthritis pain is not always a result of injury or daily wear and tear (osteoarthritis), but can also include situations where the immune system attacks the body's tissues (rheumatoid arthritis), the basic joint pain arthritis treatment can be the same. NEM works by increasing joint lubrication, resiliency, and cellular function to potentially help rebuild articular cartilage. NEM's glycosaminoglycans also work in conjunction to help reduce the inflammation and swelling attributed to joint pain arthritis.

Multiple studies have produced statistically significant results correlating NEM with a reduction in arthritis symptoms specific to patients suffering from osteoarthritis. In one study, at the end of:

繚 10 days -
o 33% experienced a 30% reduction in joint pain arthritis in the knee, and
o 25% showed more than a 50% reduction in stiffness

繚 60 days -
o 32% of NEM-taking participants reported more than a 50% reduction in pain, and
o a 27% average improvement in stiffness

Such studies have shown NEM's effectiveness both on a short-term and long-term basis for treating joint pain arthritis.

Talk to your doctor about NEM. It may be the solution you're seeking for relief from joint pain arthritis in your back, knee, hands, or fingers, without the side effects of prescription drugs. Take your life back from the clutches of arthritis.

Who Does Arthritis Affect?

The following paragraphs summarize the work of Arthritis experts who are completely familiar with all the aspects of Arthritis. Heed their advice to avoid any Arthritis surprises.

The answer to the question who does Arthritis affect? is very simple. It can affect anyone. Arthritis is not only found in the elderly, it can strike at any age.

Arthritis is not really one disease, it is a word that is used to cover over 100 medical conditions, relating to the joints of your body, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists , fingers, in fact anywhere that you have joints.

About 60% of Arthritis sufferers are actually of working age and of course, even the very young can suffer this debilitating disease.
The result of Arthritis can be stiffness in the joints, together with pain and it can bring on a feeling of everything being too difficult to do, or cope with on a daily basis.

The disease has no cure, and at this point in time there is no prediction of any cures in the near future. However, there are many things that can be done to manage the problems and even help to prevent further degeneration within your joints.

As with most medical conditions, early intervention is important, it is absolutely no use leaving the condition until it is too bad to do anything.
The important thing for sufferers to do, is to keep the joints supple and the muscles strong, it is no use resting the joint, the vital element is to keep it moving. Exercise is very important, Walking, swimming, gentle weight lifting, tai chi and yoga, are all very good for keeping the joints mobile and supple.

I realise that when you are in pain, you will feel that resting the joint is the best way to go. Wrong, research has proved that it is the worse thing you can do, as I said before, you must keep it moving.
Exercise is very beneficial, but you must not do high impact exercise, as this can do more harm than good to your joints.

I have previously written an article about Glucosamine and Chondroitin, this can be very useful in helping with pain and sometimes even helping to restore some of the tissue in the joints. Some Medical Practitioners are even recommending this to their patients, the main problem is, that Glucosmine is made from shellfish shells, and if you are allergic to shellfish, stay clear of it, though there is another type recently on the market, that is not made from shellfish, so people with shellfish allergies, please be aware of what type you are thinking of using.

You may not consider everything you just read to be crucial information about Arthritis. But don't be surprised if you find yourself recalling and using this very information in the next few days.

There is another problem with Glucosamine capsules and that is from all reports, if you stop taking them, the pain and stiffness will return.

Glucosamine is excellent, but exercise is even better, usually when you exercise, you also lose some weight, this can improve the symptoms of Arthritis because your back and joints is being subjected to less strain.

Good quality food can help, plenty of fruit and fresh vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and beans, stay away from what is called junk food, the immune system is what controls all of your health, it is the system that you were given when you were born and medicine has not developed anything to compare with the way it performs. The important factor in the immune system, is that it must have a healthy natural nutrition to function efficiently, that means it must be fed correctly. If your immune system is functioning 100% efficiently, well you just would not have any health problems.

If you have any of these problems, Joints swelling, Stiffness in the morning that lasts for a while, Tenderness or pain in a joint, not able to move the joint properly, then you should consult with your normal physician, also you should consult with your physician before embarking on any exercise program, let the physician tell you what you can do, to improve your condition.

There is no doubt in my mind that all is not lost, you really can help yourself, but get professional advice first.

There are many Arthritis Information Center's throughout the western world, just look in your telephone book, I am sure that there will be a number of listings under Arthritis.

To all sufferers of Arthritis (Worldwide many millions) I hope that you will get some benefit from reading this article, Please pass it on to anyone else that you know that also suffers this problem and you are welcome to visit my website at

As your knowledge about Arthritis continues to grow, you will begin to see how Arthritis fits into the overall scheme of things. Knowing how something relates to the rest of the world is important too.

The Seven Anti-Arthritis Foods That Really Work

Ask anybody who is suffering from arthritis and he or she will tell you that the pain from this condition is unbearable. In fact, many elderly people who have arthritis problem would prefer not to move or walk and instead take medications that have several side effects rather than permanently experience the excruciating pains every time they move their knotty joints.

If you are suffering from early signs of arthritis, however, there are a lot of things you can do not only to relieve the symptoms of this condition, but also to prevent further exacerbation of the problem. Aside from trying to exercise regularly and maintaining your weight, eating the right types of foods is crucial in treating arthritis. For more information about anti-arthritis foods, read on.

1. Fish Rich In Omega 3

Generally, it is really better to eat grilled, poached, and steamed fish rather than meat when you are suffering from this joint disease. However, it would be best if you feast on fish that are rich in Omega 3, an essential fatty acid containing substances that aid in controlling prostaglandin, which is partly responsible for joint inflammation woes.

Mackerel, salmon, halibut and anchovies are great sources of Omega 3. However, if you need to go easy on sodium, better count anchovies out. It is also important to note that for more potent Omega 3 content, it would be better if the sources of your fish came from cold water and not from a fish farm or warm water.

2. Cantaloupe

Experts believe that vitamins A and C are important for people who are suffering from arthritis because these two vitamins contain antioxidants that prevent damage from free radicals. If there is one sweet fruit that is rich in both these vitamins, it is cantaloupe. Thus, next time cantaloupe is in season, better grab one and enjoy this anti-arthritis treat.

3. Apple

An apple a day really keeps the doctor away. This red (or green) juicy fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals that prevent the exacerbation of a lot of diseases and conditions, including arthritis. However, one mineral in apple that is scientifically proven to lower the risk of osteoarthritis is boron. On top of that, boron is also known to ease pain.

4. Chili Peppers

Another pain-relieving food that you might need to include in your grocery list is chili pepper. This spicy food contains capsaicin, which provides heat and aids in blocking pain. Although cooked peppers are good, eating them raw and crunchy in salads and vegetable dishes are better.

5. Papaya

This fleshy fruit is widely used in traditional medicine to treat problems varying from hay fever to diarrhea. However, arthritic patients can also load up on this fruit because of its high content of beta-carotene and Vitamin C.

6. Ginger Root

This knotty root is used in many dishes because it provides food with rich aroma and flavor. But did you know that ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties? If you have arthritis, you do not want any inflammation because it is the primary cause of pain. By the way, crushed ginger can also be applied topically as it can provide heat to ease pain away.

7. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit and orange, contain flavonoids which are known to boost the antioxidant effects of Vitamin C and also minimize inflammation. Since you need at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, it would be ideal to have at least one or two servings of citrus fruits daily. Besides, they can also help enhance your immune system.

Taking supplements that contain Omega 3 and other important pro-bone health ingredients is also another way to ease arthritis and inflammation. Just make sure that the product you buy contains only natural ingredients. One supplement you may want to consider using is Flexcerin.

Arthritis and Lift Chairs

There are a number of diseases and conditions that can make it much more difficult for a person to be able to safely stand and sit. However, arthritis is one of the most common of these types of disorders. It is often thought that arthritis is only able to affect seniors, but this is not the case. People of all ages can be affected by arthritis, but there are several types of arthritis are inn deed much more common among the elderly.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, with rheumatoid arthritis coming in a close second. Both of these types of arthritis are characterized by joint inflammation and joint pain. Often this pain will be present in the morning and after having been immobile for an extended period of time, such as when sitting to watch some television or to take a nap. As a result, it is often incredibly difficult for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis to come to a standing position on their own and without assistance.

Since it is often very difficult for a senior with arthritis to get out of a normal chair, many seniors and those with arthritis turn to lifting aids to make it easier to stand up. One of the most common and well recognized lifting aids is the lift chair. A lift chair offers a number of the same features as a recliner and in fact looks very similar to most high-end recliners. However, lift chairs actually contain a lifting system that raises the seated individual to a standing position. They also allow the individual to sit in a much safer and more controlled manner.

The lift chair offers a number of advantages over other types of lifting solutions, because not only can it be used independently, but it is also very safe. To use a lift chair, the individual merely pushes the up button on the chairs attached hand control and the entire chair, occupant and all, will slowly rise into the air. After it has completed the rising process, the senior or other individual can exit the chair upright and on their feet. When it is time to sit down, they can lean against the chair and press the down button to be lowered to a sitting position in a safe controlled manner.

While the lift chair does in fact raise into the air, it does so very slowly and does not dump the occupant out of the chair. Instead, the seat remains at an angle that allows the individual to exit the chair if desired, but does not force them to do so.

A lift chair provides a much safer alternative to using a walker or rollator to get out of a chair, which might slip under the weight and pressure of the person using it as a standing aid. It also is much more cost effective than relying on a paid nurse or putting the added strain on a loved one who must provide a helping hand.

Arthritis can be a very serious disease and there is no cure, however through proper treatment and using mobility assistant devices, such as the lift chair, much of the effects can be minimized.

Feline Arthritis Treatment - Recent Medical Advances and Ideas For Helping Your Cat

Feline arthritis treatment has come a long way in the past several years. Up until a few years ago, conventional treatment options such as pain reduction drugs like NSAIDs (like human ibuprofen or aspirin), could only be used for short periods of time. The good news is that advances in conventional and natural treatments can greatly improve your cat's quality of life and help to slow down the destruction of cartilage in the joints.

Conventional Feline Arthritis Treatment

NSAIDs are a class of drugs that are used in both humans and cats to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. A relatively new drug, Metacam, promises longer term treatment. The problem with any NSAID is that there are potential side effects such as vomitng and diarrhea. Other drugs like Metacam potentially have the same side effects.

This class of drugs work by blocking the release of harmful enzymes in the joints. Because of the unique nature of metabolism in cats, clinicians have had mixed results with this class of drugs.

Natural Cat Arthritis Treatment

Natural products, while having mixed clinical support, are seeing widespread adoption. Many clinicians believe they are of benefit for mild or moderate feline arthritis.

Nutraceuticals: These are natural products that usually contain both Glucosamine and
and chondroitin sulphate (found in cartilage) These work by helping absorb water into the cartilage, which is an important component of joint function.

Fatty Acids: Like nutraceuticals, there is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can help joint function. This can be found either in your commercial cat food or added as a supplement to your cat's diet. One good source is known as New Zealand greenlipped mussel (GLM: pema canaliculus).

Diet: There are certain fatty acids, nutraceuticals and vitamins that are associated with helping cat's with arthritis. These Prescription Diets are available from your veterinarian and may be of some help with your cat.

Homeopathic Medicine: There is a long history of natural products having a positive impact on joint and muscle health. Ingredients such as Harpagophytum procumbens(Devil's Claw), Arthrospira platenis (Spirulina) and Calcium fluoride (6cH) , all have properties that can safely help your cat. It may be worth a try.

Other Approaches to Feline Arthritis Treatment:

There are several things you can do in your home to help your cat. These include:

Ramps: Cat's like to perch in high places and observe her surroundings. By providing a ramp for going up stairs and onto couches you can reduce the strain on your cat.

Weight Loss: The weight of your cat's body puts strain on the joints. Helping your cat down to a normal weight can reduce this strain.

Exercise: Keeping your cat moving cat help your cat. Either walks with a cat harness or playing with new toys such as those that contain a treat or catnip (Kong Toys), can help.

Cat arthritis treatment has come a long way. New conventional treatments can now help your cat for a long time to come. Using natural approaches and making your cats environment a bit easier on the joints can all lead to a happy quality of life for your cat.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Natural Remedies For Arthritis - How to Eliminate Arthritis Pain and Stiffness

Arthritis is an inflammatory joint condition causing stiffness, swelling, and pain. There are approximately 300 joints throughout your body. Arthritis limits your activity and usually gets worse if left untreated.

By following these natural remedies for arthritis, you can greatly reduce and in many cases, eliminate arthritis pain without the damaging effects of drugs. Medications may help reduce inflammation but there are side effects such as upset stomach, gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney problems.

Connection between Diet and Arthritis

  • Eating a well-balance diet is essential for arthritis sufferers. If you are serious about eliminating pain, then you must be willing to make changes. Eating more fruits and vegetables and decreasing the amount of processed foods will detoxify your body and keep it running smoothly.

  • A healthier diet also aids in weight reduction. Being overweight puts undue pressure on your joints and increases the painful symptoms.

  • Natural remedies for arthritis include yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. They are high in vitamin A and are essential for bone function as well as aiding your immune system in the reduction of pain. Apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mangoes, oranges, carrots, and winter squash are good starters. A glass of fresh squeezed orange juice a day is a tasty way to get a good dose of vitamin A.

  • Eliminating dairy, sugar, and wheat from your diet is also essential in the reduction of arthritis pain. Drink rice milk or almond milk and eat whole grains instead. Use honey as a sweetener in place of sugar.

The Result of Proper Intake of Fluid and Arthritis

  • Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day helps to release toxins and controls constipation, decreasing the amount of pain in your joints. It is also essential in weight reduction. Regular intake of fluids also aids in the proper functioning of all major body organs.

  • The best way to make sure you are drinking the recommended dosage is to measure the amount you drink. Unless you do, you are only guessing.

Benefits of Exercise and Arthritis

  • Regular physical activity plays an essential role in the treatment of arthritis. One of the best known exercises encompassing a wide range of benefits is Yoga. These benefits include increased strength, flexibility and energy, decreasing body aches and pains. Most importantly, Yoga promotes joint health.

  • "How To" tapes and CD's for beginning yoga are readily available in bookstores and libraries. Start slow, fifteen to twenty minutes a day, and in a short period of time you will begin to feel the benefits of regular stretching and meditation. Pain and stiffness will begin to decrease, making you wonder why you had not started sooner.

Making healthy changes in your lifestyle will bring relief of arthritic symptoms and in many cases, eliminate pain and stiffness altogether. Stick to natural remedies for arthritis and stay away from prescription and non-prescription medications. Be patient and understand you did not get arthritis overnight. Relief will come with consistency, diligence and being gentle with your body. You will lose weight and eliminate toxins, feeling and looking better than you ever thought possible.

How to Get the Best Arthritis Treatment Possible

Treatment for arthritis depends a lot on the type of arthritis that the person has and the stage it is in during diagnosis.

Early detection means better treatment for arthritis.

Unfortunately, not many people opt for early detection. In fact, there is a far larger number of people who consult their health care providers only when this joint-deteriorating disease is already well past its intermediary stage and on its way to the advanced stage. In other words, people typically flock to the clinics when the pains no longer respond to over-the-counter medications and eventually become unbearable. By this time, the doctors may take a longer time to figure out if the condition is hereditary or reactive (caused by other illnesses.)

So how can a person get the best treatment for arthritis? Here are some tips.

1. Look back on the family's medical history. If there is one person in the family tree that has had or currently suffers from arthritis, then there is a possibility that this person will have one too, or have one already. A series of tests can confirm if this is true, and this will also determine as to what type of arthritis he or she may be dealing with. If the person is suffering from little or no pain because of this disease, the doctor may simply recommend a better sustaining diet and exercise to slow down the crippling effects of arthritis.

Some changes in the diet would include, increasing vitamin and mineral supplements like: cobalamin, folate, omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamins C, D3 and E. As for exercise regimens, the health care provider would most likely advise the person to go on low-impact workout that would be kinder to the joints like swimming, fencing, yoga and walking.

2. Repetitive pains in the joints, particularly on the wrists, knees, hips, shoulder and ankles should warrant immediate consultation with the health care provider. It is a degenerative disease that escalates or becomes worse as time goes by. If the person finds himself or herself suffering from aches and pains in certain areas far too frequently to be of any comfort, then that person should go to the doctor immediately.

The doctor may ask that for blood tests and a series of x-rays to confirm the presence of arthritis.

3. Seek immediate assistance in case the person feels extreme bodily aches and weakness during a mild bout of illness. For example, a person lands with an upset stomach and a few rounds of vomiting after partaking of a friend's day old casserole. Deciding that he or she can take care of this, that person spends the weekend sleeping in. He or she makes a full recovery after a week, except that he or she is stuck with creaky knees. Eventually, those knees become too inflamed that it becomes very painful to walk.

Believe it or not, this is a case of bacterial infection (mild food poisoning) that leads to reactive arthritis.

Natural Remedies for Arthritis - Making Mother Nature Work for You

Arthritis is a painful condition that involves slow degradation of the body's joints. The soft tissue between joints not only cushions the weight, but prevents the body's movements from grating on the hard tissue of bones. Some forms of arthritis can be caused by the body's immune system attacking the body's own joints, such as in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Other forms can come as the result of infections, such as septic arthritis. In any case, there are natural remedies for arthritis which advocates claim can help arthritis sufferers get rid of the pain.

There is no known cure for arthritis, so if you are suffering from arthritis and a natural remedy is recommended to you, beware the quack doctor who claims that your arthritis will disappear entirely. Many natural remedies have not yet been studied in great detail, and the definition of "natural" is still debatable. Moreover, do not go into natural remedies without consulting your doctor first; some so-called natural remedies may work against your arthritis medication, or will be useless for your particular case.

Taking the Natural Path by Adding or Taking Away from the Diet

Arthritis is an old disease that has been treated in many ways by ancient doctors. For instance, arthritic or gouty patients were prescribed diets of only apples or rhubarb; they were advised to take large amounts of honey; they were required to eat fresh nutmeg; or they were told to drink gold salts. Although the last option might seem outlandish, it is still being practiced today: gold salts, however, have to be pharmaceutical grade in order to be consumed.

Fasting is another way to relieve the pain of arthritis, but this has to be coupled with drinking large amounts of water. Excessive fasting, however, can make the pain of arthritis worse, especially if other medical conditions exist that might be complicated by fasting. Some natural remedy advocates might also recommend vitamins and vitamin supplements, but these have to be taken in moderation.

Arthritis diets also depend on the kind of arthritis a patient has. Patients with gout will need to avoid high-protein and high-uric acid foods, as these can increase the buildup of uric acid crystals in joints, the main cause of this form of arthritis. This means that patients have to stay away from some mussels, meats, fish, and legumes, as the liver and kidneys can not completely process the proteins from these foods and flush them out of the body. People with gout also need to stay away from alcohol or any food or drink that can increase the liver's or kidney's metabolic load.

Massages and Needles: The Natural Way to Get Your Energy Back?

Acupuncture is an ancient method of rerouting your energy fields. According to acupuncture advocates, our bodies operate with in an energy field that should be flowing in certain directions; sickness, such as arthritis, cause this energy field to lose direction, a phenomenon that leads to extreme pain. By positioning needles on strategic points of the body, acupuncturists hope to reroute the energy field in order to relieve the pain associated with arthritis - and hopefully even cure it.

Another natural remedy for arthritis includes the use of copper or magnetic bracelets, which purportedly increase blood circulation and thus ease the pain of arthritis. Such a method, however, has not yet been proven effective, so be careful about shelling out your hard-earned money to buy expensive bracelets that are supposedly designed to relieve pain.

Giving Back the Body its Own Cells

If natural methods are the way to go, then what can be more natural than using your own body to treat itself? Although spurned by natural remedy advocates, stem cells are gaining promise as a way to treat different diseases. Stem cells are a sort of default cell mode for the body: you can find stem cells in the blood and bone marrow, and your stem cells can be programmed to develop into other body cell types.

In the future, with more scientific research, stem cells can be collected from arthritic patients, and then programmed to develop into joint tissue in the laboratory, with the help of environmental and chemical cues. These tissues can then be returned to the arthritic patients in order to replace their lost joints. Because the stem cells come directly from the patient, there is a vastly decreased risk of tissue rejection.

Today's medically accepted methods for treating arthritis include an exercise and weight loss regimen, physical and occupational therapy, and a variety of medications. There are also natural remedies for arthritis that can be used along with these methods. Whichever method you wish to avail of, talk to your physician first about how such a method can help your particular case, and what other options might be available to you.

The Agonizing, Awful and Irritating Disease of Arthritis

It literally means joint inflammation. But the word arthritis does not even begin to describe the agonizing disease that affects the lives of millions each and every year. The word arthritis defines a group of over 100 varying arthritic or rheumatic conditions, all with a variety of signs and symptoms, as well as different treatment courses.

These varying rheumatic diseases impacting the connective tissues, the muscles and the joints attack the body and in some cases can ravage the body with pain, limitations and deformities. With arthritis, the joints and surrounding tissues such as tendons and muscles become inflamed which can cause pain. You may also see redness or swelling at the joints as the body reacts and inflammation sets.

Some of the more serious forms of arthritis are autoimmune related diseases in which the body literally attacks itself because the autoimmune systems seemingly short circuits and goes a bit haywire!

Many forms of arthritis are chronic diseases impacting the lives of those they affect throughout their lifetime. Currently there is no known cure for arthritis and this is where research is currently focused. Researchers are currently focused on getting to the bottom of the root cause of arthritis and if they can truly identify the cause then we can only hope a cure is not far behind.

However, even though arthritis is a chronic disease that you must face each and every day, it does not mean that you must simply accept the pain and agony which its symptoms can bring.

Fortunately, for most diagnosed with arthritis, there are times in which the symptoms flare and are more painful while other times the symptoms are quieter and recede. These periods of quiet are the ones for which patients with arthritis long to reside and it is during these periods of quiet that most folks feel better.

Just because you suffer from arthritis it does not mean that you must give up your active lifestyle or the things that you hold dear. While it is rather probable that you will have to make lifestyle adjustments, such as built up handles on toothbrushes or pens or even your car keys, having arthritis certainly does not mean that you must hole up in your bed curled in a fetal position grieving for all the things you feel you have lost.

Yes, acknowledging the lifestyle changes to which you must adjust is important but it is equally as important to learn how to make the changes necessary and then to get on with the glorious gift of life!

Living with arthritis is definitely a challenge that can challenge even the most stoic. But you certainly can learn to make adaptations to your life as you learn to live with a diagnosis of arthritis.

When you partner with your physician to develop the most aggressive and holistic treatment plan available and one that has been designed just for you, then you have the best opportunity to effectively manage your arthritis.

After all, isn't managing your arthritis worth your attention?

Treating Psoriasis May Help Prevent Heart Attacks And Strokes

In the past, psoriasis was viewed primarily as a cosmetic issue that would not extend beyond the obvious lesions on the skin. With a better understanding of the immune responses involved in this disease, and clinical evidence indicating the frequent associations between psoriasis and other serious diseases, we now know that psoriasis is a much more serious disease affecting the whole body and quality of life.


Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects more than 6 million people in America. Psoriasis usually occurs as red, scaly, crusty patches that reveal fine silvery scales when scraped or scratched. These patches may itch, irritate, and cause discomfort.

Psoriasis is most common on the knees, elbows and scalp, but can appear anywhere on the body. In some types the nails or joints are also affected. The condition is chronic, lasting for many years, sometimes painful, disabling, especially when coupled with arthritis.

Causes Of Psoriasis

The reason psoriasis occurs is unidentified. However, it is accepted that the immune system plays an important role in the disease development. When psoriasis strikes, the over-reactive immune cells release inflammatory cytokines and cause the rapid turnover of skin cells. Under normal conditions, it takes up to 28 days for newly formed skin cells to rise to the surface of the skin and separate from healthy tissue, but in psoriasis it takes just two to six days. When the skin cells replenish themselves too quickly, they are immature and defective as part of skin barrier.

According to medical research, it is now established that psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated hyper-proliferative inflammatory skin disease. Psoriasis is characterized by an over-production of inflammatory mediators and complicated interactions among epidermal cells and inflammatory/immune network.

Psoriasis Is Associated With Serious Medical Conditions

There is a growing awareness that psoriasis is more than 'skin deep'. Over the years, several studies have uncovered that psoriasis is linked with a number of potentially serious medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, psoriatic arthritis, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, autoimmune diseases (Crohn's disease), psychiatric diseases (such as depression and sexual dysfunction), sleep apnea, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Recently, a convincing association between psoriasis and vascular diseases has emerged. Psoriasis patients have an increased incidence of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Studies also showed that patients with severe psoriasis have shorter life expectancies by an average of three to five years than those who are not affected by psoriasis.

Inflammation Is The Causal Link Between Psoriasis And Cardiovascular Diseases

The exact connection between psoriasis and cardiovascular diseases is unknown, but available evidence supports that inflammation may be the causative link between psoriasis and vascular disease.

Psoriasis and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease) share similar immune-inflammatory responses. In psoriasis, local release of inflammatory mediators causes a cascade of immune-inflammatory cell activation, continuous skin cell proliferation, and development of psoriatic plaques. In atherosclerosis, activated inflammatory cells gather at the sites of vascular injury, become part of atherosclerotic plaque, and destabilize the plaque which eventually leads to heart attack and stroke.

Psoriasis Treatments

Psoriasis treatments are aimed to suppress the over-reative immune-inflammatory responses, slow down cellular growth, and relieve associated itching and scaling.

Treating psoriasis often involves combination of different medications and interventions such as:

--Topical drug therapy (including steroids, vitamin D analogues, tar preparations, dithranol preparations and vitamin A derivatives)

--Phototherapy (also known as light therapy)

--Systemic medications (prescribed to block specific immune-inflammatory molecules or pathways in the body)

Along with drug treatments, moisturizers are often used to avoid water loss and ease the dryness associated with the disease or caused by treatments.

Apparently, there are side effects and risks linked with long term drug treatment. Common side-effects of corticosteroids include skin thinning, loss of pigment, allergic to steroids, and increased risk of infection.

Common side effects of systemic immunomodulatory therapy (impact the entire immune system) and newer biologic drugs (target individual factor or specific parts of the immune system) include increased risk of infection, flu-like symptoms, injection site reactions, and compromised immune system.

Can Treating Inflammation Benefit Both Psoriasis And Cardiovascular Disease

Due to essential role of inflammation in psoriasis and atherosclerosis, it is thought that suppressing immune-inflammatory responses may be effective treatments for both psoriasis and atherosclerosis. Various studies are performed to determine whether a treatment to reduce inflammation in psoriasis patients could be associated with a decrease in cardiovascular diseases.

Although there has no conclusive evidence, initial results suggest that treating psoriasis patients with drugs targeting inflammatory pathways can reduce vascular inflammation in psoriasis patients. Nonetheless, long-term follow-up studies are required to confirm whether reduced inflammation in psoriasis patients is associated with smaller and stable atherosclerotic plaques and decreased incidence of heart attack and stroke.

Topical Anti-inflammatory Remedies For Psoriasis Relief

To avoid systemic side effects related to long term drug treatments, natural anti-inflammatory remedies, especially topical anti-inflammatory herbal remedies, are often used as alternative treatments for psoriasis relief. Anti-inflammatory herbal extracts have been used for centuries to ease inflammatory skin conditions including psoriasis. Some results from clinical trials using herbal remedies to treat psoriasis have been promising.

Commonly used anti-inflammatory herbs for psoriasis relief include White willow, Aloe vera, Licorice, Coptis, Scute, Rhubarb, Honey suckle, and Indigo naturalis. Pharmacological studies have shown that these herbs have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and immuno-regulatory properties.

Topical Anti-inflammatory herbal remedies may provide following benefits for psoriasis relief:

--Ease of inflammation-related scaling and itching

--Balanced immune response against allergens, irritants, oxidative stress, and infections

--Augmented endogenous (i.e., derived internally) antioxidants, the most effective disease-fighting molecules in the body

--Nurturing environment for recovery of damaged skin cells and enhanced tissue repair

To learn and benefit from natural anti-inflammatory remedies, follow blog series "Nature's Best Anti-inflammatory Herbs" and "Natural Cures For Chronic Inflammatory Conditions".

What Is the Future of Stem Cell Treatment for Arthritis?

One of the most promising areas for arthritis treatment is the use of autologous adult mesenchymal stem cells. These are progenitor cells (cells that can differentiate into other cells) that are present within the patient.

Most descriptions of the use of mesenchymal stem cells have come from evaluations of patients with osteoarthritis. While most of these reports have been largely anecdotal, one recent presentation from our center revealed our experience with 22 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee (American College of Rheumatology meeting, November, 2010, Atlanta, Georgia).

The findings were quite encouraging. Among other joints we have evaluated include the shoulder as well as the hip. Further investigation is planned for joints such as the base of the thumb, ankle, and the base of the big toe.

What is extremely exciting is a recent report from RNL BIO, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the use of donor adult stem cell therapeutics.

They described a patient report utilizing stem cell therapy on an orthopedic spine surgeon who suffered from autoimmune arthritis.

According to the press release, "Dr. Stanley Jones, the surgeon and patient, reports that he had a sudden onset of acute pain in his wrist in September 2009; shortly thereafter the patient experienced pain in his knees as well. Dr. Jones saw a rheumatologist who diagnosed him with autoimmune arthritis. He was placed on cortisone, a steroid hormone, to suppress immune response and alleviate pain. Unfortunately Dr. Jones suffered complications from the cortisone... His condition deteriorated and his ability to perform routine activities of daily living or his profession was impacted.

... After a workup, he received stem cell infusions in Kyoto, Japan in May 2010. Post infusion, he began to notice improvement and by the end of 5 months, he had a complete recovery and was able to resume sports as well as operating."

While the exact diagnosis regarding this patient's arthritis is unknown, the clinical presentation suggests the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

The major difference between the use of autologous mesenchymal progenitorcells in treating osteoarthritis and treating other forms of arthritis is fairly significant.

In treating osteoarthritis, we use a combination of growth factors and a tissue scaffold in order to hold the stem cells in place so that they can grow new cartilage.

The situation described above with using donor autologous mesenchymal stem cells makes use of their ability as immunomodulators.

These cells have been used in autoimmune disease such as lupus.

According to the NIH, "the objective of hematopoietic stem cell therapy for lupus is to destroy the mature, long-lived, and auto-reactive immune cells and to generate a new, properly functioning immune system"....

"The patient's own stem cells have been used in a procedure known as autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. First, patients receive injections of a growth factor, which coaxes large numbers of hematopoietic progenitor cells to be released from the bone marrow into the blood stream. These cells are harvested from the blood, purified away from mature immune cells, and stored. After sufficient quantities of these cells are obtained, the patient undergoes a regimen of cytotoxic (cell-killing) drug and/or radiation therapy, which eliminates the mature immune cells. Then, the hematopoietic stem cells are returned to the patient via a blood transfusion into the circulation where they migrate to the bone marrow and begin to differentiate to become mature immune cells. The body's immune system is then restored."

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Essentially, this is the theory behind using autologous mesenchymal stem cells for treating other autoimmune types of arthritis such as rheumatoid disease.

Those differences aside, what is similar is that mesenchymal progenitor cells are being asked to create new tissue and correct abnormalities brought about by disease processes.

The bottom line is this: autologous mesenchymal stem cells are the future in dealing with arthritis.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Types of Arthritis - Know the Type You Are Suffering From

There are several types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of this disease and it is characterized by progressive degradation of the joints. In some instances degradation can include articular cartilage as well as the subchondral bone that is next to the joint.

Osteoarthritis normally affects the spine, hands and the feet. It can also affect the large bearing joints such as the hips and the knees. Symptoms of this condition include pain or a burning sensation in the affected muscles and tendons. Other symptoms are inflammation, stiffness and a creaking noise when you move or touch the affected joint. You may also experience contractions in the tendons and muscle spasm.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and systematic disorder that also affects the joints leading to an inflammatory synovistis. It can also affect tissues and other body organs. This condition can lead to the destruction of the articular cartilage as well as ankylosis of the joints. Symptoms include inflammation, swelling and stiffness of the affected joint especially in the mornings. The joints will feel warm and you may also experience pain.

Gout is another type and is characterized by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. When you suffer from this condition, uric acid is deposited on the articular cartilage of the joints, tendons and surrounding tissues. Gout is marked by sudden, excruciating and burning painful attacks within and about the joints. Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory condition that causes joint inflammation. It can also lead to tendinitis and sausage-like swelling of the digits or dactylitis.

The Pros and Cons of Arthritis Injections

In the treatment of musculoskeletal problems, cortisone injections may be extremely effective. Also called corticosteroid injections, they provide a focused anti-inflammatory effect aimed at providing pain relief for patients that is coming from a joint problem, such as osteoarthritis, or a soft tissue problem, such as lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).

The medication in a steroid shot contains some of the same hormones that the human adrenal glands produce. These hormones, corticosteroids, perform vital functions in the body, such as being released and providing anti-inflammation when stress is experienced.

These injections into either joints or soft tissues provide pain relief, but it is not permanent. The effects wear off after a few weeks to months, and it may actually take a few days for the pain relief to kick in. Typically some numbing medicine is included with the steroid to give immediate relief.

Patients frequently ask if the cortisone will help with cartilage restoration. Steroid injections are not disease altering treatments, they are simply symptom altering and meant to decrease pain.

So what are the benefits of a steroid injection?

1. Pain relief - This is the main benefit, as the injection of steroid doesn't alter the course of arthritis. But it does make life more tolerable by decreasing pain for what may be quite a few months.

2. Low Risk - Compared with surgery for a musculoskeletal condition, an injection maintains a much lower risk profile.

3. Low Cost - Also compared with surgery, an injection cost exponentially less.

4. Focused Injection - The steroid is injected into either a joint which is a confined space or into a soft tissue area where the medication stays predominantly local.

5. Outpatient - The injections are done either in the doctor's office or as an outpatient procedure. No overnight stays necessary.

6. Can delay the need for surgery - If a patient is in his 50's and has terrible osteoarthritis, doing a knee replacement may only last for 15 years. This may lead to the need for a revision surgery which typically has a less satisfactory result. So the injections may provide an impressively tolerable delay for years.

7. Can be placed in multiple joints - If a patient has pain and arthritis in multiple joints, such as the knees, shoulders, and spine, steroid injections may be placed in a few joints (with appropriate care not too many at once)

What are the risks of a steroid injection?

1. Temporary blood sugar elevation - this is most common in diabetics and may raise blood sugars temporarily for 24-48 hours. It would be unusual for this to be an actual clinical problem, but people should be aware of the potential temporary issue, especially diabetics.

2. Cartilage damage - It's unclear in humans if this is clinically relevant. In animal studies there has been shown cartilage alterations with repetitive injections. The key here is moderation with the amount of injections administered to each joint.

3. Adrenal gland suppression - this type of complication may occur with oral steroid medication on a repetitive basis, it would be extremely unusual for a focal steroid injection to end up with this complication.

4. Infection - with appropriate sterile technique obtaining an infection after a steroid injection is rare, much less than 1%. Prophylactic antibiotics are not necessary.

For most individuals, cortisone injections represent an excellent pain relief option for musculoskeletal conditions. The key is moderation.

Is Arthritis Hip Pain Grinding You Into Submission? Discover What's Behind it and End Your Pain Now

Do you know if you are experiencing arthritis hip pain? Many people don't understand the very symptoms of arthritis hip pain; consequently, they may blow the symptoms off as "just some nagging injury that will heal up" or "I must have twisted my hip a little, I'll be alright in a few days".

But if you really are experiencing arthritis hip pain, not the effects of an injury, you can't treat that pain in your hip the way you might have always treated it before. If you've got pain in your hip due to arthritis, it is probably a form of rheumatoid arthritis. And while men can and do certainly get rheumatoid arthritis in their hips and elsewhere in their bodies, it is a fact that about 75% of "rheumatism" sufferers are women--especially when it comes to the hips. Why this is so is essentially a mystery, but we know that it's a fact. Therefore, the first hint that the pain in your hips might be arthritis is your being female.

Rheumatoid arthritis, as doctors will tell you, is possibly a conglomeration of several diseases all at once, for while it is based in inflammation it also directly affects the immune system--and affects it for worse, not better. When you get this disease in your joints, such as your hip joints, you may experience limitations on your hips' range of mobility as well as tenderness and the obvious pain caused by inflammation. If you suspect that you are experiencing arthritis hip pain, you should go to your doctor immediately. X-rays can determine if there is wear and tear on the joints because of damage done in that area to tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and bone. Once this damage is done, arthritis hip pain can arise because of circumstances similar to what happens when the break pads on your car wear out and suddenly the metal bar is pressing directly against the inner part of your tires. Your pain is like that "squeal" sound or, if things get really bad, just like your breaking bar pressing metal-to-metal--wearing out your tires quickly and causing you to be unable to stop properly. This is why your range of motion is compromised--and, it's the source of the intense pain that you feel.

Rheumatoid arthritis is so sinister because it can come on without any warning. There are people suffering from arthritis who have gone to bed fine one night and woken up in the morning with sudden aches and pains, loss of mobility in the joints, low-level fevers (a possible arthritic symptom), and fatigue (another possible symptom). Arthritis in the hips can cause the hip joints to become destabilized and even deformed. This could clearly lead to loss of walking speed, diminished ability to balance which could be especially dangerous in certain places such as when taking a shower, and perhaps, eventually, the need to use a cane or be in a wheelchair.

If you have pain or tenderness in your hips and you suddenly cannot move your hips as you usually could, first consider if you've done something to injure yourself. But, if you cannot rationally figure out how you did this, then you must get to your doctor right away and check for it being arthritis hip pain. Remember, this condition can come on literally overnight, although of course it has built up to that point over time. There are steps you can take to diminish the pain and perhaps even keep it at bay. But arthritis hip pain is nothing to be taken lightly or ignored

Arthritis - Hidden Enemy Inside Us

Arthritis can be a nasty disease to have to deal with and can cripple you at times making it difficult just to get out of bed. There are over 100 different types of the disease and it may affect many different parts of the body. The most common strains are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout arthritis, and lupus. Many people have arthritis in hands, elbow arthritis, arthritis in feet, arthritis in spine along with knees, shoulders, fingers, hips and most other joints. Arthritis causes intense joint pain and inflammation. Some of the symptoms may include joint pain and stiffness, painful swelling and inflammation, tenderness, fever, chills, loss of appetite, weight loss, anemia, and rash. Some of these symptoms only pertain to a certain strain of the disease. Arthritis joint pain can be described in many different ways. Some describe the pain as aching and deep in the joint, while others describe the pain as sharp and persistent.

There are many available arthritis treatments including pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs that help reduce the inflammation in the joints as well as reduce the pain. Some times over the counter pain medications can factor greatly in arthritis relief. Another common treatment is physically therapy. There are many arthritis remedies, but always make sure you are well informed of the risks of the type of remedies you are trying. It is always best to consult your doctor if you are unsure if something is safe for you to take. There are also certain arthritis diets that are circulating. Sometimes diet can effect the disease depending on the type of arthritis you have. Ask your doctor if you should try to change your diet to help with your disease.

It is very important to keep the joints active to prevent them from getting stiff. Some arthritis causes are: genetics, age, weight, injury, occupation, and illness or infection. It is hard to determine how much or how little these factor into the arthritis diagnosis. Many people claim to have an arthritis cure, and while there are many claims most types of the disease do not yet have a cure. Early detection and proper treatment is the best way to control your ailment.

There is a lot of information on arthritis and many programs to help suffers deal with the disease. The Arthritis Foundation which was founded in 1948 is a charitable not-for-profit organization whose aim is to help prevent, control, and cure the disease, and to make living with the disease easier. The foundation provides public education, research, and even create an action plan to help attack the disease. This disease is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The foundation produces books and a magazine. They also organize many events including wine tasting, galas, and walk/run events.

The Dangers of Chronic Inflammation

What would you consider a serious danger to your health? You were probably thinking about Heart attacks, strokes and cancer; right? Would it surprise you to know that one of the greatest threats to our health is chronic inflammation? All of us experience inflammation of one kind or another at some point in our lives; surely it cannot be very dangerous. Well, there are times where inflammation can be beneficial, and there are times that it can be harmful.

Inflammation is one of the bodies first responses to any kind of damage. If you were to cut your finger, bump your head or break an arm, within minutes that whole area starts to swell and become a red. This is a process where the body's white blood cells, oxygen and chemicals are pumped to the wound, and the active inflammation protects us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria. Once the white blood cells have done what was needed and the wound starts to heal, the swelling then subsides. In some cases, the body's defense system triggers the inflammatory system's response when there are no foreign substances to fight off. Certain diseases can cause this to happen and they are called autoimmune diseases. In this case, the body's immune system, which is meant to protect it, causes damage to healthy tissue.

Arthritis is a disease that is most commonly linked to chronic inflammation. The term arthritis is a general description of inflammation of the joints. However, not all types of arthritis are a result of inflammation. Inflammation of the joints can occur when an increased number of cells and inflammatory substances from within the joint cause irritation and wearing down of the cartilage. When enough damage has been caused, swelling occurs in the lining of the joints. The types of arthritis caused by inflammation include rheumatoid arthritis, shoulder tendinitis, gouty arthritis and Polymyalgia rheumatic.

Chronic inflammation can also have a detrimental impact on internal organs. Inflammation of the heart is known as myocarditis and can cause shortness of breath or swelling of one or both legs. Inflammation of the bronchial tubes located in the lungs, disrupt the absorption of oxygen and can lead to an asthma attack. Inflammation of the kidneys sustained over a period of time can lead to high blood pressure and eventually kidney failure.

A growing number of medical practitioners are starting to understand the consequences of chronic inflammation and the risk that it poses to human health. If doctors are now getting concerned, then surely we need to as well. We need to ask ourselves why we develop chronic inflammation and how we can prevent it. Did you know that information can cause premature aging? No amount of anti-aging creams or plastic surgeries will help if you cannot keep inflammation under control. The only way to do this is to take control of our health and ensure that we detoxify ourselves on a regular basis. It is only by keeping toxicity levels low that we can avoid chronic inflammation and premature aging.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What's New for Osteoarthritis Treatment?

The American College of Rheumatology meeting, held in Atlanta, Georgia, from November 7 through November 11, 2010 provided some new modest advances in the understanding of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by the gradual wearing away of articular cartilage the gristle that caps the ends of long bones. Osteoarthritis primarily affected weight-bearing regions such as the neck, low back, hips, and knees.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects more than 20 million Americans and is expected to increase in frequency as Baby Boomers continue to age.

The aim of treatment in osteoarthritis is to provide pain relief and improve function. However, the ultimate goal has always been to restore articular cartilage.

Some important highlights from this year's meetings were:

1. The demonstration that genetic markers called "SNPs" may provide clues as to why some people develop osteoarthritis more readily than others. So, in addition to trauma to the cartilage, which is a known risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis, there also appears to be a genetic predilection for the disease. Perhaps, in the future, patients who are at higher risk for contracting osteoarthritis might be identified and treated more aggressively.

2. Cymbalta (duloxetine), a drug already approved by the FDA for treatment of major depressive disorder, fibromyalgia, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, was approved by the FDA for treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, including pain resulting from osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain. The efficacy of Cymbalta for chronic lower back pain and osteoarthritis were assessed in four double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials. Patients taking Cymbalta in these trials experienced significantly greater pain reduction compared with placebo.

3. Data on Naproxcinod, a unique non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug was presented. Naproxinod is the first cyclooxygenase inhibiting nitric oxide donator (CINOD) in development for the treatment of osteoarthritis. It was found to be comparable to naproxen in its ability to relieve the pain of hip osteoarthritis, while causing fewer adverse effects on blood pressure.

4. The popular "new kid on the block", vitamin D, suffered a blow to its reputation. Supplementation with vitamin D was unsuccessful in helping patients with osteoarthritis of the knee overcome pain in one study presented from Tufts University.

5. The use of ultrasound to guide knee injections for osteoarthritis treatment led to a 42 percent reduction in pain, a doubled response rate to therapy and a 15 percent reduction in cost to patients, compared with conventional injections guided by "feel."

6. Pennsaid, a relatively new topical agent which combines the anti-inflammatory effects of diclofenac with the penetrating power of DMSO presented some encouraging data on pain relief for osteoarthritis of the knee.

7. Another study showed that Lidoderm patches provide another possible options for knee osteoarthritis pain relief and were superior to placebo.

8. Researchers from Rush Medical School in Chicago recently studied the gaits of 16 adults who, through x-rays and reported symptoms, were diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knees. The researchers found that special shoes can ease knee pain and slow the progression of knee pain and arthritis.

9. A study from the Netherlands showed that distraction of the knee ( using pins to open the knee joint) actually led to cartilage growth and improvement of symptoms as well as avoidance of the need for knee replacement.

10. Two presentations on mesenchymal stem cells provided hope that in the near future, the ability to regenerate cartilage to treat osteoarthritis is a possibility. The first was a talk given by Dr. Nathan Wei, from the Arthritis Treatment Center in Maryland, who presented data on 22 patients treated with mesenchymal stem cells for osteoarthritis of the knee. At six months and at one year following treatment with autologous stem cells (a patient's own stem cells), patients showed improvements in both subjective measures as well as objective measures of cartilage growth. The second talk given by Dr. Rocky Tuan from the University of Pittsburgh, demonstrated that transformation of adult mesenchymal stem cells into human articular cartilage was not only possible but relatively easy.

Gluten Free Might Help Your Arthritis Condition

For some people it is hard to believe that gluten can cause so much destruction. When we tell people that in order to treat a serious condition like arthritis, inflammation and pain, a few serious dietary measures are needed. Giving up gluten might be one of them.

When someone first hears they have to give up gluten which mean mainly wheat (but also includes rye, barley and oats), you can hear the panic in their voices "there is nothing left for me to eat". Most people find it unbelievable and unacceptable that their diet has made them ill often refusing to consider giving up anything you suggest especially wheat, at first. Yet the scientific evidence and our experience with dealing with patients with auto-immune disease it makes a huge difference. After a little while people come around to the idea of gluten-free might be worth it in order to become pain-free or at the very least drastically reduce their suffering.

There are several things this outburst reveals. We already know that wheat is addictive, and most people are addicted to it. The fact that someone says 'but there is nothing left for me to eat' means they are not eating enough variety in their diet, this is typical.

I'll give you an example - we all know pineapple is good for you, so I recommend you eat it 7 days a week 3 or 4 times a day, you would think I was crazy. Of course I would never suggest such a thing. Yet, people do this with wheat 7 days a week 3 to 4 times a day! And patients think I am mad? What do I mean - breakfast cereals, sandwiches, toasties, pasta, pizza, biscuits, cookies, crackers, pastry, dumplings, pancakes, muffins, cakes, dough-nuts, pretzels etc. This list is almost endless, as there are also products that contain some gluten - like sauces, gravy, sausages, fish in batter or chicken coated in bread crumbs, how did we end up drowning in wheat?

The other reaction I get from patients "but I don't have celiac disease also known a spurs!" You don't have to have full blown CD to have a problem with gluten. CD was once thought of as rare and only suspected in children, today it is considered more common and is most often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, whereas gluten sensitivity is very common indeed, causing all sorts of havoc and destruction. We have seen, as have other practitioners, patients vastly improve on a 'gluten-free diet' that have had the tests and were told they did not have CD. Yet they vastly improved, because you can have intolerance to gluten a Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, setting up the same symptoms as CD.

I discovered about 7 years ago I had celiac disease, as naturopath I had been eating ultra well for years many, giving up wheat completely at least 10 years earlier. I did eat oats and rye sometimes. I became very tired which was a surprise as I ate really well and always felt good. A very rare visit to the doctor revealed anemia, that surprised even more as I did eat lamb and plenty of green vegetables. I then was diagnosed as having celiac disease, I immediately gave up all gluten and in no time without iron tablets my hemoglobin levels were high again.

For those people who are gluten sensitive and it is much more common than you realize, by continuing to eat gluten is putting yourself at higher risk of auto-immune diseases, and if you have a form of arthritis I suggest you consider sooner than later, going gluten-free.

The Paleo Diet: Arthritis, Inflammation, and Food Allergies, Help, or Hype?

Everywhere you look there is a "new" weight loss, health promoting, or performance enhancing diet. "The Paleo Diet," (Paleo: being before the agricultural revolution) created by Dr. Loren Cordain is gaining a lot of buzz. It is promoted as an anti-arthritis diet.

In this diet, Dr. Cordain outlines a "hunter-gatherer" diet plan, claiming to help people optimize health, minimize risk of chronic disease, reduce inflammation, and lose weight. It is based upon common, modern foods, which mimic the food groups of our (pre-agricultural) ancestors. The concept is, "If the cavemen didn't eat it, you shouldn't either."

This is due to the high correlation between inflammation of the gut and joints. Autoimmune problems are thought to result from lectins, a protein often found in grains. When consumed in large quantities, these lectins could lead to increased inflammation. Wheat contains both gluten and lectins, and intolerance to both gluten and dairy lectins have been connected to arthritis.

A diet too high in omega-6 fatty acids and too low in omega-3 fatty acids can also promote inflammation. Omega-3 fats are known to reduce inflammation, while overconsumption of Omega-6 fats has been linked to arthritis inflammation. Processed oils such as corn, soybean, and vegetable oils contain high levels of Omega-6's, unlike butter, olive oil, or coconut oil. Both fats are necessary, but in a proper ratio. Creating a smart balance can help improve health.

While interesting in theory, it is not a magic bullet. Eating and exercise patterns have changed dramatically since prehistoric time. Because our lifestyles are different from our Paleolithic ancestors, so are our nutritional needs.

(Pros) The Paleo Diet:

  1. Promotes eating natural foods, needed to maintain health. The body and brain work in harmony, and all-natural foods promote functioning, whereas highly processed foods can cause dysfunction.

  2. Uses protein as the mainstay of the diet, and decreases carbohydrates and processed foods. This ratio of protein to carbs, was seen more in our earlier ancestors.

  3. Lowers the chance of health problems due to food intolerance. For people with arthritis, food allergies or sensitivities, (especially to gluten, nuts, additives, dairy, artificial preservatives, or refined carbs) such restriction can create a noted health advantage.

  4. Encourages lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemicfoods. Foods low on the glycemic scale are digested and absorbed more slowly, so they do not spike blood sugar.

  5. Creates a high fiber intake, which is essential for good health. Whole grains, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables are excellent options to increase fiber; they promote intestinal health and reduce inflammation.

  6. Does not demonize healthy fats. Encouraging and allowing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with balancedOmega-3 and Omega-6 fats, offers a cardiovascular benefit.

  7. Promotes a net dietary alkaline load, tobalance dietary acid.This offers a range of health benefits such as stronger bones and muscle, lower blood pressure, and a decreased risk for kidney stones.

  8. Increases potassium intake and decreases sodium intake. Unprocessed, fresh foods contain 5 to 10 times more potassium than sodium, (a ratio to which Stone Age bodies were adapted).

(Cons) The Paleo Diet:

  1. Demonizes Dairy (a healthy food group). Unless you have a true sensitivity, there is no need to exclude dairy, which serves a distinct purpose in the diet. It provides essential nutrients the body needs to function properly.

  2. Excludes potatoes, legumes, and peanuts. While higher in glycemic value, potatoes are a natural starchy vegetable. All natural foods should have a place in healthy diets. Learning when, and how to place them in your diet, would provide more benefit than excluding them.

  3. Is restrictive. It provides a list of off-limits foods (many of which are natural and healthy). Not everyone is willing, or able to withstand this, making adherence a problem. Processed foods, sugars, and starches are not allowed. For some this would be a deal breaker.

  4. Does not emphasize the role of exercise and leading an active lifestyle. Diet is only one component of living a healthy lifestyle. Any plan that does not include the role of movement, in one's life, should be looked at with skepticism.

  5. Does not address or take into consideration, the mental component of eating. While a scientific approach is taken, the mental attachment to food can often override what we understand to be beneficial. By not offering support or accountability, this plan leaves room for a high drop out rate.

The bottom line is, if you are looking for a different approach to eating, have some food sensitivities or arthritis, need structure, and would be willing to restrict your food options, this plan could provide the health benefits claimed by the creators.

However, a half-hearted attempt could lead to more frustration and perhaps additional pounds. Keep in mind, healthy eating is not something you do TO yourself, but FOR yourself. Finding a method that works in your lifestyle, makes that possible. Here is a general checklist for evaluating any healthy living plan. Does it:

1. Increase healthy, natural, and unprocessed foods choices (not restricting any one food or group).

2. Decrease highly processed foods, sweets, and calorie dense food options.

3. Guide you to stay mentally engaged to what and why you eat, along with providing support and a means for accountability.

4. Encourage you to create, and stick to a plan to move more daily.

5. Allow you to make wise choices 80% of the time and allow 20% of the time for indulgences.