Update on Arthritis

11/7/16 Know Your Nutrition | Volume 1 Article 16.

Update on Arthritis

Know the Facts


Arthritis encompasses over 100 conditions that affect the joint, the most common of which is osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, fibromyalgia, and gout. Some of these can also affect other parts of the body such as the kidneys, lungs, eyes, and skin.


Medical News Today reports some startling statistics:


  • By 2030 and estimated 67 million adults will be diagnosed
  • It’s estimated 294,000 children under 18 have some form or other
  • Approximately 40% of adults with joint pain report limits in their daily activity


Working, walking, and other everyday tasks taken for granted are all things that may be affected by arthritis. It’s believed that $47 billion is lost in earnings and $80.8 billion spent on things like prescription drugs, and ambulatory care, not to mention other costs like replacement surgeries for hips, knees, shoulders, etc.


Be Aware


Women are more prone to most types of arthritis, with the risk increasing with age. Genetics may also play a role in some cases. Other factors to keep in mind: weight, joint injuries, infection, and occupation may be risk factors.


According to the CDC, about 47% of arthritic adults in the United States also have at least one other disease or condition such as heart disease (24%) and diabetes (16%).


What You Can Do Now


Living with joint pain is not easy, and whether your condition is degenerative (OA), inflammatory (RA), metabolic (gout), or infectious (virus/bacterium), there are some things you can do to help manage the pain.


Exercising and losing weight are big ones. Exercising sounds counter-intuitive as it may be painful, but it will help strengthen your muscles, improve flexibility, and help you lose weight, all of which will help your joints and prevent injury. Losing weight will also help in terms of the force and load on your joints.


Other things which may help are using hot and cold therapies, avoiding excessive repetitive movements, and diet. According to Prevention.com and arthritis.com, some of the foods that may help are turmeric (whose active ingredient is curcumin) and ginger, which seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. They also recommend foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon.


Webmd.com highlights Omega-3 fatty acids along with glucosamine and green tea. Glucosamine may help keep cartilage in joints healthy and green tea may have anti-inflammatory effects. And Dr. David Williams highly regards the research of Dr. William Kaufman, who documented Niacinamide (a form of Vitamin B3) to help joint surfaces.


What’s New


The good news is that research is progressing on several fronts.


Testing. Researchers at Warwick Medical School have developed a test which may diagnose osteoarthritis in its early stages, with the potential for prevention and possibly more effective treatment. This blood test which identifies chemical signatures in the blood from joint proteins may be available in about two years.


Triggers. Research from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University, Australia, suggests that high cholesterol levels may cause cartilage cells to die by causing oxidative stress, leading to OA. This research, published in the FASEB Journal is still in the animal study phase.


Diet. Gout, caused by hyperuricemia, or the buildup of uric acid, specifically in the joints, is a rheumatic condition. Gout has seen a 1.2 rise in the last 20 years. It’s been known for many years that diet can affect gout as eating a diet rich in red meat and seafood is one of the risk factors. But researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reviewed data from the 1997 DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) trial and concluded that following the DASH diet may help minimize gout flare-ups. The researchers contend that more than 70% of people with gout also have high blood pressure. The DASH diet focuses on a reduction in salt intake and promotes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

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