Topics in Arthritis
Arthritis, broken up into is Latin parts, means inflammation of the joint.
Thus arthritis is a general term for all the possible conditions that could cause inflammation of a person's joints. There are many different types of arthritis, though they may be broken up into three distinct categories:
- Inflammatory conditions that are caused by the destruction of the joints: The most common example of this condition is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a destructive wear and tear type condition that involves the wearing out of the synovial joints that separate joints and allow for their movement. In many cases, these joints just wear out over time, due to the fact that as we get older, the tissues in our joints wear down at a faster rate than they may be replaced by new healthy tissue cells. The process by which our cells age at a faster rate than they may be replaced by newer healthier cells occurs throughout our body as we get older. However, our joints are affected worse than other tissues, such as the muscles and bones, because their blood supply is worse. The cells of our muscles and bones are more highly vascularized, while joints that are degenerated or injured may be slower to heal and regenerate - if ever.
- Inflammatory conditions that are caused by systemic disease: The most common type of arthritic condition caused by systemic disease is rheumatoid arthritis. With the condition of rheumatoid arthritis, somehow the body's immune system becomes reprogrammed to attack healthy joint cells rather than just attacking harmful pathogens in the body and leaving its own healthy tissues alone. Rheumatoid arthritis may be thus classified as a systemic inflammatory disorder. Other systemic inflammatory disorders that involve joint destruction include Ankylosing Spondylitis, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Fibromyalgia. Of these 4 inflammatory conditions, Fibromyalgia continues the be the most vexing, and doctors still haven't come to a complete understanding of what it really is yet.
- Inflammatory conditions that are caused my metabolic changes to the body: These conditions are often related to poor dietary habits, specifically diets that are rich in carbohydrates, processed food, alcohol, and carbohydrates. Gout is the most common example of arthritis that may be related to metabolic changes in our body. Gout is a disease that may result in redness and swelling of our joints, and is often related to the buildup of uric acid in our body. Gout is more likely to occur in people who have other medical conditions, are affected by stress and anxiety, and those with unhealthy lifestyles. Examples of unhealthy lifestyle habits that may bring on the condition of Gout include smoking and excessive consumptions of alcohol. With this condition, there is excessive production of uric acid by the body, which become hard crystals that become embedded in the joints, bones and other connective tissue structures. Unlike the two other types of condition mentioned above, the inflammatory effects of Gout may be temporary, and usually go away within 3 to 10 days. Outbreaks of Gout are unpredictable, and may be separated by weeks to several years. Gout most often affects the joints of the big toe, though they may affect lower limb joints in the other toes, knees, heels, and ankles. Several different types of medications may accelerate the rate of recovery when outbreaks of Gout do occur, including NSAIDs, Colchicine, Glucocorticoids, Pegloticase, and Prophylaxis.
Let's look at some of the latest topics in arthritis research, causes, treatments, and prevention.
Diet for arthritis: we have all heard the cliché, "you are what you eat". Do you experience that saying in your own life? I know I do. I know that when I eat healthier I do feel better and I do have more energy. But I am also a person that has suffered from lower back pain (as well as radiculopathy) for over a decade now, and I haven't really noticed a big connection between how healthy my diet is and how my back feels. But perhaps I have never taken my diet far enough to truly eat healthy to the point that is was able to experience significant joint pain relief? Let's take a look at some dietary changes and additions that may positively affect your arthritic condition.
Fats: there are some types of fats that have been shown to decrease inflammation and some that may actually worsen the effects of arthritis. There are bad fats and good fats. Bad fats are trans fats and saturated fats. These types of fats are derived from animal protein (especially red meat animals) as well as those in fried foods. Good fats are saturated fats. Saturated fats have been known to decrease inflammation in injured and arthritic joints, as well as lower the risk of heart disease. Foods that will provide your body with good fats include mackerel, catfish, trout, and salmon.
Other foods that fight arthritis include those that contain vitamin C (e.g guava fruits), Selenium (e.g. whole grains), and Carotenes (e.g. kale, butternut squash).
Click on the other links in this section to find more interesting topics in arthritis.