WHAT IS MEANT BY ARTHRITIS OR RHEUMATISM?
Unfortunately, these common terms produce a considerable amount of fear and concern for many people.
Rheumatism is a vague term used to describe aching in joints and muscles, and the word should be avoided.
Arthritis means inflammation of the joints, but there are over 100 different types of arthritis. The most serious is rheumatoid arthritis, which is uncommon. The most common osteoarthritis, which is usually not serious and causes only minor discomfort in some people.
WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
This is a condition that occurs during the body’s normal ageing process as a result of wear and tear of the joints. It is also called degenerative joint disease.
The smooth gristle or cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones at the joints is gradually worn away. The joints become rough, and stiffness and inflammation can develop.
X- rays are taken to confirm the diagnosis of osteoarthritis; all other tests done have normal results. X- rays show some degree of osteoarthritis in 1 or more of the joints of 9 out of 10 people over the age of 40.
HOW DOES OSTEOARTHRITIS BEGIN?
The most common reason for loss of cartilage is wear and tear due to ageing, but many people never notice it.
It commonly develops in joints that were injured earlier in life (such as with sporting injuries) or joints that have been overworked (such as those in the fingers of a knitter or the feet of a ballet dancer).
Osteoarthritis mostly affects the weight-bearing joints such as the spine, knees and hips (especially in over-weight people) resulting in joint or knee pain, but the base of the thumb and the ends of the fingers are common sites also.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS?
The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms varies, but usually they are pain, swelling and stiffness of the affected joints. Stiffness is usually worse in the morning. Joint pain is worse after excessive or prolonged activity such as walking for a long time. Movement may be difficult and interfere with normal activities.
HOW SERIOUS IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis seldom becomes a serious problem and does not threaten one’s life. It does not cause the crippling deformities of joints seen on the rarer serious forms of arthritis.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS?
There is no cure, but there are many ways to make life more comfortable and keep you mobile and independent. Surgery can relieve a joint that is very stiff and painful.
Keep your weight down to avoid unnecessary wear on the joints. No particular diet has been proved to cause or improve osteoarthritis.
Keep a good balance of adequate rest with sensible exercise (such as walking, cycling or swimming), but stop any exercise or activity that increases the pain.
A hot- water bottle, warm bath or electric blanket can soothe the pain and stiffness. Avoid getting too cold.
Shoe inserts, good footwear and a walking stick can help painful knees, hips and feet.
Aspirin and paracetamol are effective pain-killers for mild osteoarthritis. Your doctor may prescribe anti-arthritic medications, but few may have to be tried to find the one that works best for you. The tablets should be taken with food.
NOTE: TELL YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE HAD A PEPTIC ULCER OR GET INDIGESTION.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS
It is possible to increase your independence at home. There is a wide range of inexpensive equipment and tools that can help with cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. These can be discussed with physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
The Arthritis Foundation in your city is able to provide information about many aspects of arthritis.
Please seek Medical attention as soon as possible if you are unsure of you or your family's health condition.
Difference between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Rhonda Patrick on Diet-Gene Interactions, Epigenetics, the Vitamin D-Serotonin Link and DNA Damage
Our genes influence the way we absorb and metabolize micronutrients.
Nutrigenomics looks at the influence genetic variation has over
micronutrient absorption/metabolism and the biological consequences of
this dynamic relationship. Our diet also influences which of these genes
are turned on or off! Emerging evidence in the field of epigenetics has
demonstrated that not only can we change the expression of our own
genes within our own lifetime; sometimes these changes are heritable and
affect our children and grandchildren. In this talk we’ll be exploring
the intersection between genetics, nutrition, and environment: how your
diet, micronutrients, exercise, heat stress, and sleep can change the
expression of your genes and how this has profound effects on the way
your body functions and ages.
Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.D. is an assistant scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute working with Dr. Bruce Ames. She investigates the effects of micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) deficiencies on metabolism, inflammation, DNA damage, and aging in people. She also researches the role of vitamin D in brain function and dysfunction.
In addition to Rhonda’s active role as a researcher, she also functions as a science communicator for a broad lay audience via her web and video presence found at FoundMyFitness.com. She is passionate about disseminating health-related information in a way that the general public can easily understand. She is a frequent speaker and writer on topics ranging from general health and wellness, to diet and aging, to vitamins and their effects. It is Rhonda’s goal to challenge the status quo and encourage the wider public to think about health and longevity using a proactive, preventative approach.
Rhonda earned her Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee and performed her graduate research work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She also has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in biochemistry/chemistry from the University of California, San Diego. She has done extensive research on aging, cancer and nutrition, and metabolism.
Healthy Diets for Optimal Health
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