"Creating Your Healthy Life" series of articles have been written to inform and empower individuals who want to take control of their health. For more information on specific natural therapies and remedies for you, regarding the subject matter of this article, contact a Holistic or Natural Medicine Practitioner.
Chronic inflammation inflicts devastating effects, especially as we grow older. Systemic inflammation is a common culprit contributing too many degenerative diseases such as arthritis. It can also manifest into atherosclerosis, heart valve dysfunction, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer's and even cancer.
Since I addressed inflammation in a previous article, I would like to concentrate on one of these degenerative diseases that inflammation contributes to, arthritis.
The word arthritis means "Inflammation of the joint". There are two very distinct types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both are painful and are the leading cause of disability in people over the age of 64.
Conventional medicine offer temporary relief from the symptoms which may result in side effects such as ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. Some arthritis medication can actually worsen the condition by speeding up joint destruction.
What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a gradual decay which usually affects the knees, hips, spinal and hand joints. This degeneration causes pain, swelling, deformation and reduced range of motion. The erosion of the cartilage and erosion of bone results in a loss of shock absorption and the underlying bone begins to thicken and bone spurs are formed. As it worsens there is significant pain and disability. The use of pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs over time may result in undesirable long-term effects.
Rheumatoid arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks body tissues as if they were foreign invaders. There is erosion of cartilage and of bone, as well as chronic inflammation and thickening of the membrane that surrounds the affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be directly related to chronic inflammatory syndrome. The swelled joints may feel warm to the touch and look red. There is also a general feeling of sickness, fatigue, weight loss and fever. The conventional treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is relatively safe but the medication itself suppresses not only the symptoms but a much needed enzyme that our bodies need to fight acute infectious diseases which can result in a serious infections.
The conventional treatments for both of these degenerative diseases involve blocking of the inflammatory pathways that are causing the cartilage destruction. There are however, natural therapies that work along these same pathways and without the dangerous side effects.
Modifying the diet can help block common inflammatory pathways. Foods with a high glycemic index should be avoided:
- Fatty Red Meat
- Organ Meats (liver, kidney, etc.)
- Egg Yolks
- White Bread
A simple change in the diet in addition to suggested supplementation may have a significant beneficial impact on arthritis sufferers.
If you would like information on how to get started combating your arthritis with dietary changes, please contact a qualified health practitioner.