Red, burning, swollen and so stiff you don't want to move...
that's what those who suffer from arthritis experience on a
daily basis. If you know this all to well, you are probably
one of the 46 million Americans (that's 1 out of every 5
people) that are living with arthritis every day. To better
understand how to get relief from this debilitating disease
we need to dive deeper into its root cause.
Some of the types of arthritis which are associated with
* rheumatoid arthritis
* polymyalgia rheumatica
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis actually means joint (arthr) inflammation (itis).
Arthritis can be used to define a group of more than 100
rheumatic diseases and other conditions that can cause pain,
stiffness and swelling in the joints or any part of your body.
Additionally, it can damage the joint cartilage which can lead
to joint weakness, instability and visible deformities that
can interfere and, in severe cases, limit a person's ability to
perform most basic daily tasks such as walking, climbing stairs,
using a computer keyboard, washing dishes or brushing your
teeth. Arthritis can affect anyone regardless of age and most
commonly affects joints in the knees, hips, hands and spine. If
left undiagnosed and not treated properly, arthritis can cause
irreversible damage to the joints, bones, organs, and skin. Not
to mention dramatically impair your quality of life.
Arthritis-related conditions primarily affect the muscles and
the bones but it is also considered to be systemic, affecting
the whole body. Arthritis can cause damage to any bodily organ
or system, including the lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, skin and
even the heart. The Arthritis Foundation sites two independent
studies (Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota) both of which prove that the
widespread inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is linked to
heart disease and an increased risk of early death.
No one really knows the exact cause of arthritis but there are
certain risk factors to keep in mind:
* Genetics - likely to contribute to risk but no one knows
* Age - the older you are the more at risk you become.
* Weight - maintaining a healthy weight will ease the load on
* Previous Injury - major injuries are likely to contribute to
* Occupational Hazards - repetitive, high demand jobs increase
* Certain Sports - high level, high demand sports can
contribute to arthritis (however, general exercise is always
* Illness or infection - an infection in the joint or gout can
lead to arthritis.
What we do know is that when you have arthritis your immune system
goes into over-drive and causes the joints to swell and become
inflamed. Therefore, treating the inflammation becomes key in
managing the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
Sadly enough, the Arthritis Foundation reports that half of those
Americans with arthritis don't believe anything can be done to help
ease their pain. You may be in that situation yourself, having
thrown your hands up in frustration and simply decided to live with
your pain. The good news is that by reducing the inflammation you
can significantly ease the painful symptoms associated with
Here are a few ways to reduce your inflammation:
* Exercise - less weight equals less stress on joints
* Diet - Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain
products; limit sugar, salt and fat (especially saturated fat
found in animal products)
* Rest - a good balance between rest and activity is the key to
* Over-the-counter and prescription medications - while these may
provide temporary relief by masking the pain they are not always
get to the root of the problem - inflammation. They can also
have serious side effects, especially with long-term use.
* Natural anti-inflammatory supplements - probably the most
promising natural approach to reducing inflammation in a long
while. We recommend looking for supplements containing systemic
enzymes and all-natural herbal ingredients.
By taking these simple steps to reducing inflammation you will be well
on your way to managing your arthritis pain and it devastating effects
on your mind and body. Everyone should strive to achieve a healthy and
active lifestyle for optimal health and wellbeing.
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