Relieve Arthritis Naturally

 

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Relieve Arthritis Naturally

Overview

Arthritis is the general term used to describe problems with joints. Although the name suggests that inflammation is always involved (arth=joint, itis=inflammation), some painful or otherwise troublesome joint conditions are placed under the “arthritis” heading even though there is no significant inflammatory process.

Current statistics indicate that the vast majority of us—as we age—are destined to have at least some problems with arthritis. However, the good news is this: lifestyle practices can decrease the frequency and severity of joint problems.

When arthritis comes knocking on your door, it is likely to arrive as one of three common types. Here are the three major types of chronic arthritis:

  1. Crystal deposition arthritis. This type of arthritis is caused by minerals settling outside the bloodstream and forming crystals that lodge in the joints. The most common crystal deposition arthritis is called gout.
  2. Osteoarthritis: the arthritis of “wear and tear.” This is clearly the most common type of arthritis. Our risk of osteoarthritis (also known as “degenerative joint disease”) is increased by cumulative trauma.
  3. Autoimmune arthritis. A number of types of arthritis are caused when the immune system begins attacking a person’s joints. Sometimes that immune derangement appears to occur in the aftermath of an infectious disease. Among the autoimmune causes of arthritis are: rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus (simply called “lupus” or SLE), scleroderma, and psoriatic arthritis.

Crystal Deposition Arthritis

Gout is a surprisingly common form of arthritis that may affect as many as 4% of U.S. adults—many of whom are completely unaware of the cause of their joint pain. The disease, caused by the buildup of uric acid in the blood, depositing uric acid crystals in the joints, primarily affects middle-aged men or post-menopausal women. Women during their childbearing years are protected from gout because estrogenic compounds help the kidneys dispose of uric acid.

A classic symptom of gout is pain in the big toe—although virtually any joint can be the site of uric acid crystal deposition. If gout affects your toes or feet, the condition may be so painful that you’re unable tolerate even a bedsheet over the affected limb(s). Additionally, many individuals have a low-grade fever during an acute episode of gout.

Natural Treatments for Gout:

Food. Because uric acid is derived from protein, diet can have a profound impact on this disorder. Uric acid is actually the breakdown produce of a specific protein constituent known as “purines.” Some high-purine foods include meat (especially organ meats) and seafood. Consequently, one strategy for gout-free living involves the elimination of meat and seafood.

Diets high in fructose can also raise uric acid levels. Consequently, you’ll generally want to avoid foods and beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. On the positive side, researchers have recently demonstrated that cherry consumption as well as a tart cherry juice concentrate can help decrease gout episodes.

Temperance. This is the principle that we should use things that are good in moderation and totally avoid things that are harmful. This principle has special relevance in the dietary arena. For example, eating too much—even of good foods—can increase gout problems. You see, gout is connected with obesity as well. Therefore, gradual weight loss typically helps decrease risk of gout. On the other hand, rapid weight loss can trigger an acute episode. Therefore, be temperate in your eating and exercise for a successful, gradual weight loss.

Liquids. Dehydration can lead to increased uric acid levels—so keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. On the other hand, alcoholic beverages can raise uric acid levels—and can also contribute to weight gain. So, if you are dealing with gout, beer, wine, and liquor are best eliminated. Additionally, one of the most effective ways to lose weight is to leave off all caloric beverages and drink only pure water.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects millions Americans, including 80% of those older than 55 and 95% of those over 65. Consequently, as our population ages, the absolute number affected continues to rise. OA develops due to stresses on the joints and is therefore often attributed to “wear and tear.” This form of arthritis can be triggered by an acute injury to a joint or by repetitive trauma (such as occurs in certain sports or due to obesity). For example, obesity is one of the most important risk factors for knee OA.

Natural Treatments for Osteoarthritis:

Losing weight helps relieve stress on the joints and may thus help slow or halt the progression of osteoarthritis.

Exercise. Exercise has been convincingly demonstrated to help with osteoarthritis. Much of the classic research has been performed on the knee, suggesting the benefits of exercise are due to muscle strengthening, improved joint movement (“range of motion”), and improved position strength.

Other experts believe that exercise helps improve the health of cartilage, the cushioning material between the bony surfaces of joints. This hypothesis asserts that one way cartilage maintains its health is by activity. During exercise, stress is placed on the joints, causing fluid in the cartilage to be “squeezed out.” Then as pressure is taken off the joints, fluid comes back in, nourishing and strengthening the cartilage.

Regardless of the mechanisms, exercise is very important in dealing with most forms of arthritis. The key is to not overdo.

Food. Circulatory health is connected to osteoarthritis. A vegetarian diet will definitely help with heart and circulatory problems and may also help with osteoarthritis. Consider giving a vegetarian diet a 30-day trial and see if you notice a difference.

Omega-3 fats help the brain, heart, and blood pressure, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties. We generally recommend getting your omega-3 fats from their native sources: plants. That’s right. Fish don’t make omega-3 fats, they only concentrate them from the plant-based omega-e sources they consume. We really have a hard time recommending fish consumption because they are some of the most toxic-laden foods in America. (Consider especially the case with mercury.)

Supplements. Some natural supplements may help bring joint relief to those with OA. However, lifestyle strategies are far more effective. These include glucosamine. The down side to glucosamine, however, is that it contains glucose, which can raise blood sugar. This, of course, would not be helpful for someone with diabetes. Turmeric is another natural, whole compound with anti-inflammatory properties. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in high amounts in primrose oil is also anti-inflammatory.

Rest. If you fall asleep by 10 p.m. and get at least eight hours of sleep, evidence suggests you will have lower levels of stress hormones, tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6. These compounds all worsen inflammation so adequate sleep can offer significant help for joint problems. Research also suggests sleep before midnight further helps joints by enhancing the output of joint-health-enhancing compounds like growth hormone and melatonin.

Autoimmune Arthritis

Many Americans are also afflicted by autoimmune arthritic conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) alone affects some 1.5 million Americans. Not just a joint condition, individuals with RA may also have autoimmune damage to their lungs, heart, eyes, etc. The systemic nature of autoimmune arthritis is also illustrated by lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus), which has a tendency to damage one’s kidneys. Autoimmune cause of arthritis should thus be regarded as systemic diseases that require systemic treatment. Lifestyle again can make a huge difference. One great place to start is with smoking cessation. Cigarettes increase not only your risk of RA but also lupus.

In the food department, the use of omega-3 fats and a vegetarian diet can have profound effects on rheumatoid and other inflammatory arthritis conditions. Fasting can also help to induce a remission of some autoimmune processes. The reasons? Fasting causes anti-inflammatory metabolic changes. Cessation of all food intake may eliminate certain items that are aggravating the arthritis. However, because fasting can be dangerous for some individuals, we recommend talking with a healthcare provider before beginning a fast.

Summary

If you want to lessen the impact of arthritis in your life, think LifeStart. Specifically prioritize the following: liquids (drinking more water to keep the blood more fluid), interpersonal relationships, nutritious food, exercise, sunlight, temperance, air, adequate rest, and trust in Divine Power. These nine elements provide you with keys to help prevent, improve, or relieve many types of arthritis.

To learn more about these nine strategies undergirding the LifeStart program, download the FREE LifeStart eBook. For best results, consult with your healthcare providers and find a local support center where you can surround yourself with a community of supportive peers. Our online directory will help you locate such individuals in your community. Also on our website you’ll find a variety of resources to help you on your journey to having healthier joints. These resources include books, DVDs, and other health products that I and other medical professionals have endorsed.

Take the Next Step...

Join the 30-day LifeStart Online Program and get daily motivation plus personalized support to help you live sharper, leaner, longer, and better—in 30 days or less!

About the Presenter

David DeRose, MD, MPH
Host, LifeStart Seminars

For over 25 years Dr. David DeRose has been helping people improve their health through motivational presentations and natural therapies. He brings solid credentials as a board-certified specialist in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine in addition to holding a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Health Promotion and Health Education. Known for his engaging presentations, Dr. DeRose is an award-winning public speaker, published medical researcher, syndicated talk radio host, and experienced college teacher.

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