Eliminating the Underlying Cause of Arthritis

 

arthritis

 

There is a general misconception that arthritis is an age-related health condition that afflicts only the senior people or the aged. It may be true with this inflammatory disease, the most universal type of joint pain that usually affects adults of both sexes in their middle age.

However what most people don’t appreciate is that there are other types or causes. 

Arthritis, also known as joint inflammation, is defined as an inflammation of one or more joints and involves the breakdown of cartilage resulting in pain, swelling, and limited movement.

Cartilage is responsible for protecting the joints and serves as a shock absorber when pressure is placed on the joint during walking or running. It allows for the smooth movement of our limbs.

Without cartilage, the bones will rub together and can cause pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.

It is also referred to as a chronic disease. This means that it can affect the person afflicted with arthritis for a long period of time, perhaps for the rest of a person’s life. It cannot be cured, but it can be treated through a variety of products, including prescription and over-the-counter, as well as using proven natural methods.

Learning how to manage the pain over the long-term is an important factor in controlling the disease and maintaining a good quality of life.

Arthritis, or joint inflammation, can be due to the following causes:

  • Broken Bones;
  • Infections that are usually caused by bacteria or viruses;
  • An autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the immune system believes a body part is foreign); and
  • General “wear and tear” on joints.

Generally, as soon as the injury heals, the inflammation disappears. The infection is treated and the disease is cured. However, there are some injuries and diseases in which the inflammation remains intractable and continuously causing pain that may lead to deformity.

People suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Warmth around a joint
  • Redness of the skin around a joint
  • Reduced ability to move the joint

 

The condition can occur in men and women of all ages. 

Other types include:

  • Rheumatoid (in adults)
  • Osteoarthritis (middle age and above)
  • Juvenile  (in children)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Gout
  • Scleroderma
  • psoriasis 
  • Ankylosis Spondylitis
  • Reiter’s syndrome 
  • Adult Still’s disease
  • Viral 
  • Gonococcal 
  • Other bacterial infections (non-gonococcal bacterial)
  • Tertiary Lyme disease (the late stage)
  • tuberculous 
  • Fungal infections such as blastomycosis

 

The most common type, osteoarthritis which causes the cartilage between the bone joints to deteriorate which can cause pain and/or stiffness. New pieces of bones, called bone spurs, may grow around the joints as a result.

The cause although generally associated with aging, can be associated with factors such as metabolism and genes which can play a role in its development.

There are many aspects to consider before your doctor can prescribe pain relief treatment plan such as the particular cause, affected joints, severity, and how the condition affects your daily activities.

Age and occupation will also be taken into consideration.

Eliminating the underlying cause is one of the most important goals in treatment. However, not all origins are curable. Relieving pain and discomfort as well as prevention from further damage becomes the main focus.

Lifestyle changes and exercise can greatly help in improving the condition.  Medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken in addition to exercise and lifestyle changes.

The difficulty implied with the taking anti inflammatory drugs is that they do come with side effects. Especially, if used over the long-term.

This inflammatory disease is one of the most debilitating conditions affecting mostly people over the age of 55.  It doesn’t only affect that specific age group, but also a percentage of young adults. 

It’s not just a simple disease but a group of conditions that may cause damage not only to your bones but also to other organs in the body. It is also a condition that doesn’t go away.

There are over 100 different types affect approximately 46 million Americans today.  

Osteoarthritis is more commonly called as degenerative arthritis.  This develops from a simple breakdown to an eventual loss of cartilages of one or joints.  Cartilages are protein-based mass that serve as cushions in between joints. 

This type usually attacks weight-bearing joints such as the hands, feet, and spine.  It is mostly related to aging and it progresses further as the years pass.  It usually occurs at the age range of 45-60.  Men are at higher risk before age 45.  Women, however, are more prone to it around age 55 specifically around the hand, foot and knee joints.  Severe cases require total joint replacement, mostly of the hip and knee joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis may also affect different joints, and as previously mentioned it may affect some body organs and even our blood.  It mainly affects the synovial lining of the joint.  The synovium is a soft tissue that lines the non-cartilaginous surfaces within joints.  This issue comes as a secondary effect of infections.

 In this case, the body’s autoimmune system malfunctions and attacks healthy joint tissue, causing inflammation and joint damage.  This is one major reason why inflammation must be addressed at its origin

The fact that your immune system drives the inflammatory process in disease is well established. Unfortunately Western medicine offers little in the way of specific answers as to managing or overcoming the autoimmune process.

The classic approach is generally to contain the immune response with immune suppression agents which are predominantly steroids. This approach is designed to reduce symptoms but doesn’t stop the underlying disease processes or allows for damaged tissues to regenerate and heal.

Unless you turn off the actual cause, all you have done is postponed the inevitable and potentially destroyed more tissue in the process, by allowing the condition to continue.

Gout is caused by displacement of uric acid crystal to the joints. Also known as hyperuricemia, which literally translates high uric acid content in the blood, it is a metabolic ailment wherein uric acid builds up in the blood and crystallizes in the joints of other parts of the body. 

Chronic gout attacks may lead to hard lumps of uric acid deposits around the joints, and in the process decrease kidney functions and form kidney stones.

There are different kinds of treatment for the different forms of the condition.   There are medications available that aid in pain relief.  Antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used as relieve pain and decrease inflammation on affected areas. It has to be paired with constant visits to a physical or occupational therapist to ensure that mobility and range of motion is maintained.

The downside to this is that typically, the majority of anti inflammatory drugs cause some stomach pain and have been linked to ulcers and many other serious conditions with long-term use.   

This isn’t just a simple joint pain that we can disregard.  The pain alone is difficult to ignore, let alone the complications it will bring if it remains untreated.  Nobody is safe from getting it as there are forms that have causes yet to be defined. 

Bottom line is, take care of your body – be mindful of your diet and exercise constantly. 

 

http://www.webmd.com

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

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