The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, a painful
condition in which joint cartilage gradually breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis, a systemic disease that can
cause severe pain and crippling.
People with osteoarthritis may have inherently defective
cartilage that makes them vulnerable to normal wear and tear. Rheumatoid arthritis develops when an overactive
immune system attacks connective tissue in the joints and other organs, causing inflammation and
Read the signs:
Many patients suffer acutely from arthritis only because they
fail to detect it at an early stage. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:
Joint pain and progressive stiffness without noticeable
swelling. When accompanied by chills or fever, it is indicative of osteoarthritis. Most people with osteoarthritis
in their fingers don’t even know about it unless an x-ray reveals deterioration in the cartilage. With
osteoarthritis though, even though the arthritis never goes away, the pain fades over time.
Painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness, affecting the
fingers, arms, legs and wrists. If this occurs in the same joints, especially early mornings, it may be rheumatoid
Bursitis is another form of
arthritis. Bursitis usually affects the hip, shoulder, and elbow. But it can also affect the knee,
heel, or base of big toe. Usually this affects athletes, golfers, baseball players, or people who are out of
shape and have poor posture. This arthritis’ symptoms are pain and stiffness in the joint. Arthritis
symptoms become worse when joint is used. The joint may also be swollen and warm to the
Fever, joint inflammation, tenderness, and
sharp pain. If these are accompanied by chills and have an instance of associated injury it may indicate infectious
Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis of the joints in the
spine. It is also known as Marie-Strumpell disease and rheumatoid spondylitis. This disorder affects
multiple organs such as eyes, heart, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of this arthritis
include: low back and hip pain and stiffness; difficulty expanding the chest; pain in neck, shoulders, knees,
and ankles; low-grade fever; fatigue; weight loss. Initial arthritis symptoms are uncommon after the age of
30, although patient may not be diagnosed until after then.
Gout is a form of arthritis where the body
has too much uric acid. The symptoms of gout arthritis are intense pain in the joint (usually the big
toe). It may also become red, swollen, and warm to the touch. At times, gout can occur in the wrists,
ankles, and knees. Arthritis symptoms may not come back for several years. But if crystals formed by
the uric acid are left untreated, it can destroy part of the bone.
Opposed to common opinion, arthritis can actually be prevented.
However, you need to be cautious and begin early. Early diagnosis and treatment help slow or even prevent the
damage that could be done to the joints.
Exercise: Regular and suitable exercise is a proven method to reduce the
pain and fatigue. This is because physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and
Diet: The correct diet is absolutely necessary. Intake of fruits and
vegetables that are high in vitamin C reduces the risk of developing inflammatory arthritis. People with rheumatoid
arthritis can experience a marked reduction in swelling, pain and redness of joints by adding omega-3 fatty acids
to their diet. These are found in fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines as well as in other cold-water fish. Fish
oils are recommended for rheumatoid arthritis patients as the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil can help reduce the
pain and morning stiffness.
Since Vitamin C is important for the manufacture of collagen,
eating vitamin C rich foods may help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Best food sources are citrus fruits,
berries, kiwi, melons, broccoli, peppers, potatoes, and cabbage. There is also evidence that antioxidants such as
vitamin C, beta carotene and Vitamin E will fight the effect of free radicals, which are generated by inflammatory
compounds and are thought to cause tissue damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Green Tea: Green tea contains a component called catechin, which benefits
patients by reducing the degradation of cartilage. It also reduces inflammation. Catechin is also known for its
valuable antioxidant properties.
Oestrogen: For women, an oestrogen replacement therapy has been an approved
treatment for both the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. It reduces bone loss, increases bone density in
the spine and the hips, and reduces the risk of hip and spinal injuries.
Obesity greatly increases the risk and severity of
osteoarthritis. Even a little extra weight strains the knee and hips. Losing weight and increasing exercise often
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often have the opposite
problem. They may be too thin due to a lack of appetite, chronic pain, or depression.
Because arthritis has no cure, sufferers often turn to
alternative therapies. Some may help, others are worthless, often costly and sometimes dangerous.