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Arthritis: Causes, Treatments and Prevention

by Natalie Katsman

Arthritis affects about 40% of Americans and about 50% of people worldwide. This ailment is more common than cancer and heart problems and dates back thousands years. It is believed that the famous Roman baths were created not only for hygiene purposes, but to help ancient people ease the aches and pains in the joints.

What is happening and why?

There are two most common forms of arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. RA is an autoimmune disorder when the body attacks its own cells, which often results in joint destruction. OA is wear and tear arthritis that comes with age or because of improper diet or lifestyle.

Cartilage, the joint lining, that acts as a shock absorber consists of water and though protein fibers, collagen. Collagen matrix, that gives cartilage its strength and shape, is insulated by a net of proteglucans. They are filled with water to protect and nourish the cartilage. Proteglucans are long molecular chains that include glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate two important building blocks.

Glucosamine is essential to production of water-binding proteins in cartilage, and chondroitin sulfates draw fluids that provide the ease of movement and attract nutrients for cartilage repair. Injury, wear, corrosive enzymes can damage this protection, and cartilage loses the ability to repair itself. It gradually deteriorates and forms clefs and crevices that impede movement and cause pain.

Traditional approach to treating joint pain is well known: the pain is suppressed with NASDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.). Calming the symptoms, these drugs simply mask the problem, while the joints keep deteriorating.

Luckily, there are other ways to deal with arthritis. Research shows that supplementing your body with the two important cartilage building elements Glucosamine and Chondroitin can aid in joint restoration.

Another useful nutrient is MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) - a form of sulfur found in many common foods: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and eggs. MSM helps to relieve pain and inflammation in joints and muscles. In addition, it boosts blood supply, lessens muscle spasms and softens scar tissue.

Capsium - cayenne pepper extract (Yes! That hot spice!) has been found to be helpful in arthritis pain relief.

Emu Oil - due to its small molecular weight, Emu Oil easily penetrates skin membrane and delivers its soothing relief to sore joints. Its anti-inflammatory properties make preparations with Emu Oil more and more popular among health professionals and sportsmen.

Last but not least, your lifestyle and habits can help you avoid the discomfort. Folks who maintain their body in shape and enjoy an active lifestyle have much smaller risk to develop osteoarthritis. OA hits weight-bearing joints first. If joints have to manage extra weight, the cartilage is worn out faster than it can repair itself.

Despite the belief that osteoarthritis sufferers should not exercise, research proves the opposite. Moderate exercise helps to keep joints healthy. Even if they are already affected by arthritis, making them work stimulates the restoration process.

Here is a small exercise you can do to keep your knee joints in shape: Bend your knees as if you were going to do at sit-up. Keeping your knees close together, move them in circular motions clockwise and then in reverse direction.

You might not feel like moving when your arthritis reminds of itself with burning pain, but a combination of diet, moderate exercise, supplements and topical preparations can prevent it and allow you to enjoy your favorite activities.

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About The Author
© Natalie Katsman, 2004
Natalie Katsman is a co-founder of http://www.natural-aid.com, where you can find fine quality aloe vera products for beauty and well-being and subscribe to HealthySkin Newsletter filled with beauty tips, recipes and information on herbal healing, skin care and cosmetic chemistry.
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