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Health

Managing Arthritis

You may consider arthritis to be a disease of the elderly, but did you know that it could actually affect any age group?   It's a well-established fact that two-thirds of those who experience arthritis are actually under the age of 65!  For these 3 million Americans (some are children), daily activities are hindered by intense swelling, pain, and  stiffness.  Arthritis can be very limiting and frustrating.

What is arthritis?

There are over 100 different arthritic conditions that cause pain, limited movement, and stiffness in the connective tissues and joints throughout the entire body.  Unfortunately, arthritis is chronic so once you experience it, you'll always have it.  The good news, though, is there are things that can be done to help limit its effects on our bodies and daily activites.

Types of Arthritis

There are three types of arthritis that affect individuals of all ages.  They are:

1- Osteoarthritis. This is the most common form of arthritis and is caused when the cartilage in between the joints wears down. It's been found that consuming adequate amounts of Vitamin C can protect the joints from free radicals and regenerate collagen, helping the body to repair any damage to the cartilage.  Other nutrients that can help produce collagen include:

Vitamin A - found in cheddar cheese and liver.

Vitamin B6 - found in wheat germ and white meat turkey & chicken.

Vitamin E - found in almonds and sunflower seeds.

Copper - found in whole grains and seafood.


Zinc - found in oysters, pumpkin seeds, and red meat.

Supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin can also help, but be sure to check with your doctor before implementing them into your daily diet.

2- Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is a more serious form of arthritis.  In this form, the immune system attacks the body causing swelling of the membranes that line the joints.  Eventually, joints are eaten away entirely.  Nutrients that can help are:

Omega-3 fatty acids - found in cold-water fish like salmon, halibut, tuna, and sardines.  Omega-3's may be helpful in reducing stiffness & tenderness, and help to improve overall joint function.

Gamma linolenic acid - found in evening primrose and borage seeds.  This can help to fight painful inflammation.

3- Gout.  Gout is defined by experiencing excess amounts of uric acid, a by-product of the kidneys.  When the kidneys aren't working properly, uric acid builds up in the body and can crystallize around the joints causing pain and swelling.  The following may help to reduce the onset of gout:

Water - Drinking lots of water can help to dilute uric acid in the blood and helps to flush it out of the body.    

Cherries - Contain flavonoids that can actually lower levels of uric acid.

Researchers have found those who consumed a vegetarian diet saw dramatic improvement in arthritic symptoms within just a month!  But if you're like me and just love your meat, try eating cold-water fish like salmon and tuna three times a week.  

Supplementing your diet with herbal remedies such as evening primrose and borage can help, too.

A Healthy Weight

Being overweight can actually worsen arthritis since the extra pounds puts more stress on our system.  This, in turn, affects our mobility and the ease in which daily activities are performed.  Maintaining a healthy weight is imperative if you are living with arthritis.

Living with Arthritis

There are three things that can be done to help minimize the effects of arthritis.  

The first consists of medicine to relieve the discomfort and pain.

The second is to rest to heal the injured tissues.

And third:  exercise to build strength. Don't forget proper nutrition in this equation!

As you can see, there are steps you can take to help limit the pain and discomfort of arthritis.  Give these tips a try, and see if they work for you!


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professional. You should not stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.

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