Arthritis_8_

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					                                                                Arthritis
I  t takes just a bit of cold
   weather and some rain,
   and around the world
people start feeling stiff
with aching bones and poor
                                                                                                   may not be the best ones for
                                                                                                   you. Taking them might
                                                                                                   delay a correct diagnosis by
                                                                                                   masking your symptoms,
                                                                                                   and there can be further
spirits. Chances are, the cul-                                                                     damage to your joints.
prit is arthritis. But what is                                                                        However, most people
arthritis, and what can be                                                                         benefit from low dose pain
done to ease the pain?                                                                             killers such as paracetamol
                                                                                                   or aspirin, and the variety
Osteoarthritis                                                                                     of skin rubs available from
This is the most common                                                                            the chemist. These may
form of arthritis. It affects                                                                      help ease the pain and
65 to 80% of people at some      often worse after a night’s        Swimming is excellent as       improve circulation.
stage in their life.             sleep. People with inflam-      the water helps take some
   Osteoarthritis is the so-     matory arthritis often sleep    strain off the joints while       What about my diet?
called “wear and tear”           poorly, waking tired and        still allowing their mobility     Doctors will usually advise
destruction of joints. It usu-   stiff.                          to be maintained.                 overweight people to lose
ally affects larger, weight-        Sometimes the trigger           Cycling should be by           some weight, especially for
bearing joints such as hips,     for inflammation may be an      ‘spinning’, moving the legs       arthritis of the knees, and
spines, and knees. In the        infection, such as the mos-     quickly with very little pres-    arthritis with trapped-nerve
hands, it usually affects the    quito-borne Ross River          sure by using a low gear.         pains.
knuckles more than the fin-      Fever virus. This is carried       Walking is excellent, but         There is not yet convinc-
gers. It can also become         in the blood and circulated     you should wear good quali-       ing evidence of a link
worse following a joint          through the joints over a       ty footwear. This needn’t be      between nutrition and
injury, such as a fall, or a     period of months to years.      expensive, but involves a         arthritis. However, some
car accident.                                                    shoe with a thick, but flexi-     people find relief by avoid-
                                 Rheumatoid arthritis            ble, sole to reduce the           ing acid foods (like tomatoes
What happens?                    This form of arthritis is one   impact transmitted to the         and citrus), red meat, dairy
The joints wear away. This       of the few that can also        joints.                           products, and preservatives
begins with the softer con-      affect children. It affects                                       and colourings in food.
necting parts such as carti-     about one in 100 people.        Physiotherapy/chiropractic           Reducing your intake of
lages or spinal discs, and          The delicate tissues with-   Manipulation of severely          alcohol, especially red wine
continues until the bones        in the joints become raw        affected joints can result in     and beer, and purine-rich
become crumbly and rough-        and swollen. Fluid builds up    damage, but in the early          foods such as prawns, is
ened. They often become          and causes the joints to        stages of arthritis, physio-      helpful for gout.
larger and thicker shaped.       become hot and red, and         therapy can be very effec-           Fish oils in the diet seem
   This results in pain in       extremely stiff and painful.    tive at restoring function to     to protect against rheumat-
the joints that is worse after      The cause is not known,      stiff joints. Talk to your doc-   ic disease, as does a reduc-
heavy or prolonged use. For      but it is more common in        tor about this.                   tion of saturated fats in the
example, towards the end of      women, and within some                                            diet.
a busy day, or after a long      family groups. This type of     Pain relief                          It is also important to
walk or car journey.             arthritis can lead to the       Relief can be obtained ini-       note that any chronic illness
    Sometimes nearby             eventual destruction of         tially by using ice packs to      can alter the body’s nutri-
nerves can become pinched.       joints and quite devastating    reduce the inflammatory           tional state. Many people
Sometimes the joint              disability.                     pain. This is followed a few      with arthritis become low in
becomes so eroded that it                                        days later by heat packs to       vitamins E and B, folic acid,
needs to be replaced with an     How can I reduce the effects    ease muscular spasms.             zinc, magnesium, iron, and
artificial joint.                of arthritis?                   Many people find that mas-        calcium. This can make
                                 Regular exercise can reduce     sage, gentle stretching or        their symptoms worse as
Inflammatory arthritis           the severity and frequency      rolling can also help.            well as cause other ail-
This arthritis involves a        of symptoms. Aim towards                                          ments, and supplements
degree of swelling of the        aerobic fitness rather than     What about medication?            may be needed.
joint with stiffness and         just stretches. Try to get      It is best to discuss your
pain. Because the body can       regular amounts of about 30     arthritis medication with
only make anti-inflammato-       minutes exercise, rather        your doctor as it varies with
ry hormones while it is          than a weekend workout          the type of arthritis. It is
awake, the symptoms of           that may have the opposite      important to realise the
inflammatory joints are          effect.                         tablets that suit a friend

				
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