Millions of people suffer from one form of arthritis or another and, contrary to popular belief, it is not a disease affecting only the elderly. Some forms of arthritis strike toddlers, while thousands are stricken in the prime of their lives. Arthritis is the most prevalent chronic condition affecting women, particularly between the ages of 20 and 40. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that one in seven people have some form of arthritis.
Arthritis (“arth” meaning joint, “itis” meaning inflammation) consists of over 100 different conditions from gout to rheumatoid arthritis. Although most of these disorders occur with joint or muscle inflammation, many disorders like lupus involve the skin, lungs and kidney. Inflammation, swelling and, most importantly, pain, are hallmarks of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a gradual wearing away of the cartilage that cushions the joints and prevents the bones from scraping against each other. New research is also finding that osteoarthritis occurs when the ability to regenerate normal cartilage is impaired. Repetitive activities and sports injuries are associated with the development of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the second most common form, is an autoimmune disease whereby the immune system produces antibodies that destroy the synovial membranes around the lubricating fluid in the joints. RA may begin in fits and starts, taking months or years to progress, but for about 25 percent of sufferers it begins abruptly and severely. In the case of RA, correcting the immune system abnormality is the focus of treatment.
Types of Arthritis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Osteoarthritis (the most common type)
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica
- Pseudo Gout
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Juvenile Chronic Arthritis
- Reiter’s Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Infective Arthritis
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
Osteoarthritis: Usually osteoarthritis appears after the age of forty and is characterized by joint pain and stiffness that increases in severity over a long period of time. The joints become swollen and lose their mobility. After much of the cartilage has been worn away, bone spurs develop in the joint spaces.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: The joint pain and stiffness of RA is more noticeable in the morning and, like osteoarthritis, the joints become swollen. Unlike osteoarthritis, however, RA can strike suddenly in some cases and at any time of life, even in childhood (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis). Other symptoms include fatigue, fever, depression, anemia, weight loss and night sweats. When the joints are inflamed they take on a purplish color and, as the disease progresses, the hands and feet become deformed. RA attacks symmetrically, afflicting both wrists, both ankles or both knees.
When diagnosing RA, four out of seven criteria must be met: morning stiffness that lasts more than an hour; the arthritis is symmetrical; three joint areas simultaneously inflamed (not just bony overgrowth); arthritis is present in any of the hand joints; nodules lay under the skin on bony prominences; serum rheumatoid factor levels are abnormal; and erosions or decalcification are detected by X-ray.
Osteoarthritis: Better known as “wear and tear” arthritis, as the nickname suggests, it can arise from repetitive use or abuse of the joints from heavy labor, sports and injuries. Obesity aggravates arthritis because greater strain is put on the joints. Poor nutrition and dehydration as well as food and environmental allergies can contribute to the condition. Although aging is usually cited as a factor (70 percent of the elderly have it), there is an assumption that it is an inevitable aspect of aging. This is not true. If care is taken to address the other factors, then you may live a long life without osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Stress and its ability to affect hormones that promote inflammation, allergies, heredity, obesity, nutritional deficiencies, vaccines, a hyperactive immune system and even viral or bacterial infections are just a few of the potential causes of RA. Ten years ago rheumatologists would have disagreed that these factors play a role in promoting arthritis, but new research has shown otherwise.
||1 capsule daily with food
||Relieves pain and stiffness in 7 days; helps rebuild cartilage
SkinSmart (10%) Topical Cream
||Apply morning and night or as needed
||Anti-inflammatory, reduces pain and swelling of joints
Omega 3 + CoQ10
4 soft gels daily
|Potent anti-inflammatory; improves mobility
Borage Oil / GLA Skin Oil
1 to 2 tsp or 4 capsules daily
Relieves pain and inflammation
||6 capsules or 2 packets daily
||Supports all body systems including cardiovascular, nervous, skeletal, hormonal and endocrine and more
Health Tips To Enhance Healing
- Drink eight to ten glasses of pure, clean water every day to prevent your joint cushions from becoming dehydrated. For every juice or caffeine beverage that you consume, you must have another glass of water.
- Avoid these substances to prevent flare-ups: citrus fruit, milk, red meat, sugar products, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper, tobacco and any member of the nightshade family (potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, etc.).
- Focus your diet on natural, whole foods: fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, eggs, whole grains, healthy fats and oils, seafood and fresh fish. They are key to halting inflammation at the source. Eating foods with a high sulfur content (garlic, onions and asparagus) will help remove metals from the body.
- Non-weight-bearing exercise like water aerobics, swimming, stationary cycling and yoga should be performed. Be careful not to overburden joints or cause pain and inflammation.
- Lose weight. Even 10 extra pounds can cause an additional 40 pounds of pressure on arthritic knee and ankle joints.
- Use hot or cold compresses on the area to alleviate pain and inflammation. Take hot baths or saunas to keep the joints warm.
- Use topical ointments including Celadrin. Look for products that contain menthol, peppermint and eucalyptus.
- Start a diet diary and write down everything you eat to see if there is any correlation to your arthritis symptoms. Ask for a referral to an allergy specialist and get tested for possible triggers. Some allergies may only be detected with the help of an ELISA test. Once you know what you are allergic to, avoid those allergens.
- Beware of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Celebrex and acetaminophen long term due to gut problems.
If you are taking methotrexate, you must supplement with B vitamins and folic acid as the drug reduces these nutrients, promoting nausea and diarrhea. Pernicious anemia develops if not addressed.
Research on the effectiveness of Celadrin cream performed at the University of Connecticut involved 42 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants received either Celadrin applied topically in a cream or a placebo cream. They were evaluated before application of the cream, 30 minutes after, and then again following a 30-day treatment period during which the cream was applied twice a day, morning and evening. The group receiving Celadrin had outstanding results with reduced pain and stiffness, improved balance and strength, and better mobility. Within 30 minutes of applying Celadrin cream, patients experienced a dramatic improvement in all aspects tested. Results of this study were published in The Journal of Rheumatology, August 2002. Another study using Celadrin cream, performed as an extension of the previous study, confirmed earlier research showing improvement in elbow, wrist and knee mobility and significant reduction in pain.