Most of you heard of arthritis, it is an inflammatory disease affecting musculoskeletal system, more specifically the joints. According to the data from CDC (Centers For Disease Control And Prevention), arthritis is the main cause of disability of the adult population in the US.
The research conducted based on the data from 2007 to 2009 showed that in the US there were 22.2% (49.9 million) of adults aged ≥18 with doctor-diagnosed arthritis; and of those 49.9 million adults, 42.4% (21.1 million) had AAAL. AAAL stands for arthritis-attributable activity limitation, in other words, limited movement and disability caused by arthritis. The study also indicates that there will be a significant increase in arthritis cases by the year 2030.
These numbers are very serious, which is why we at HelpYourBack.org decided to address this issue and talk more about it. Our goal is to bring more awareness to it and give you some advices regarding its prevention, causes and treatment.
What Causes It?
A lot of different factors can contribute to it and eventually cause arthritis; they also largely depend on the type of arthritis people are suffering from. The most common types are:
Osteoarthritis starts with the problems in the joint cartilage. Cartilage is a type of elastic connective tissue, commonly found within the joints; its main function is to reduce the friction between the bones forming the joint, and basically act as a natural shock absorber.
Cartilage affected by osteoarthritis loses its elasticity and deteriorate over time. When this happens, ligaments, tendons and muscles forming the joint need to overcompensate, overstretch and cause pain. And if the damage to the cartilage is severe enough, the bones may actually start to rub against each other causing immense pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a bit different since the inflammation within the joint will attack the synovial membrane (membrane which acts as padding between joints and, at the same time, lubricates the joints for smoother movement).
The affected joints will swell up, cause pain, discomfort and reduced mobility. If it is not treated in time, it may cause severe disability and deformity.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
JRA in short, is a form of rheumatoid arthritis affecting persons aged 16 or less. The disease is often caused by a genetic predisposition, which is triggered by environmental factors.
Recognizing the symptoms of arthritis is fairly easy, but it is important to recognize this disease in its early stages so that the treatment will have a better chance of success.
For this reason we are going to go over some of the most common ones, and if you recognize any of them, visit your doctor:
- Pain in the joints – of course, sometimes pain in the joints is normal, after a challenging physical activity for example, so you need to be very careful in distinguishing this particular pain to the one caused by arthritis. Arthritic pain will often strike after physical activity and/or after long periods of inactivity, accompanied by joint stiffness.
- Tenderness – the affected joints will be more sensitive and tender when compared with others
- Inflammation and swelling is also a common symptom
- Reduced flexibility and range of motion within the joints will often be present
How To Prevent It?
The best prevention is education, the more you learn about various different types of arthritis, its causes and symptoms, the more you can do to prevent it. TIP: try looking for the latest news and publications on this condition, they will offer fresh and up to date information which may be more beneficial than reading old books.
Another awesome preventive measure is movement! Being physically active will not only help you be fit, control your weight and build muscle, it will also ensure your joints are well lubricated and healthy.
And, of course, you should always try to protect your joints as best as you can. If you like extreme sports, contact sport or any other activity that can cause trauma to your body, you should protect yourself and your joints properly.
What To Eat?
Diet can have a huge impact on your overall health and, of course, on your joints if you are suffering from arthritis. First, we will be talking about some foods you should avoid if you are suffering from this condition, and then some recommended foods that can help you.
Foods to avoid:
- Fried food. I know this is a tough realization, but if you want to be healthier, you should at last try it. According to the study done at Mountain Sinai hospital, cutting back on fried food can reduce the inflammation and help your body heal itself naturally
- Sugar. Cutting back on sugar will also be beneficial when fighting inflammation
- White Flower. Some proteins found in white flower my irritate the tissue around your joints, so you should try to avoid it altogether
- Salt. No need to discuss this in detail, refined salt is bad for you, cut back on it as much as you can.
- Brown rice
- Fruit. Cooked, dried or fresh, either way it`s good for you
- Drinking plenty of water
- Omega-3 fatty acids
The most common joints arthritis will affect are smaller, more delicate joints, such as:
- Joints in the hand – fingers, thumbs, wrist
- Foot joints – small joints in the foot and ankles
On the other hand, hip, shoulder, elbow and neck joints are less commonly to be affected by arthritic changes.
This is a special type of arthritis affecting people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a condition where people develop red patches on their skin, often topped with silvery scales.
Unfortunately, there is still no cure for psoriatic arthritis, so people can only make an effort to control its symptoms.
Natural Pain Relief
We already said that this condition affects the joints, causing pain, swelling and discomfort, so the logical thing would be to relieve as much pressure off the joints as we possibly can. If you are overweight (or obese), you should considering shedding some weight. Roy Altman, rheumatologist from UCLA, says that losing 10-20 pounds may greatly reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Low impact exercises can also be of huge help, and should be a part of every arthritis rehabilitation process. Make sure those are moderate exercises, such as walking, swimming or riding a bike.
Changing your diet is another good way to battle arthritis, we`ve covered that in the previous paragraphs.
Acupuncture and meditation can also have a profound influence on your body and will help you control and reduce the pain. You should open up to these techniques, they both offer their own set of benefits, but don`t get discouraged if you don’t see noticeable progress, at least you gave it a shot.