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Coping with Arthritis

Sensational Seniors

Arthritis is now one of the most chronic health problems we face and is also the number one cause of limitation in movement, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis is prevalent in those over 65 with one-third in this age category suffering from it, although it does affect people of all ages.

Recognizing common symptoms of arthritis and learning to differentiate between myths and facts is essential for everyone because the chances of you developing it or someone you love being stricken are high. For those who already have arthritis, it is important to learn how to manage your symptoms.

Arthritic Hand Arthritis comes in more than 100 different forms. The specific causes for most forms are not yet known, making it difficult to know how one could prevent being afflicted with it. The most common symptoms include joint pain, inability to move joints normally and swelling.

Included in these more than 100 forms of arthritis are the three most common; osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that covers the ends of bones deteriorates, causing pain loss of movement as bones begins to rub against each other. Fibromylagia is widespread pain afflicting muscles and attachments to the bone. The exact cause of fibromylagia is unknown, but research now shows decreased blood flow and certain viruses may be the culprits that trigger the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is when a joint's lining becomes inflamed, resulting in deterioration of the joint, pain and limited movement.

Common belief also seems to be, among many, that nothing can be done about arthritis. This is another myth. There are a variety of medications that have been introduced to the market within the last year to treat various types of arthritis. It is critical that one gets an early and accurate diagnosis to minimize the affects of arthritis due to the fact that the majority of joint damage occurs within the first two years of disease onset.

As stated earlier, it is not known how one can prevent arthritis but those who do have the affliction can take part in a treatment plan tailored to meet their individual needs. The first step is to make sure you've gotten a proper and correct diagnosis. A doctor can diagnose arthritis based on the overall pattern of symptoms, medical history, physical exam, x-rays and lab tests.

Cat's Claw for Arthritis?

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This valuable herb regulates normal blood pressure, balances cholesterol, relaxes blood vessel walls and opens up peripheral circulation making it helpful for the skin and joints. Due to possible anti-inflammatory effects, cat's claw may help to relieve pain of arthritis. It may also be useful for lowering blood pressure and treating some cancers. Amounts to use are not well defined although common doses in clinical trials have been 100 mg per day for osteoarthritis and 60 mg per day for rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies have used higher doses (350 mg to 500 mg per day).

Arthritis causes anxiety and weakness. For this there are a variety of techniques people can use to reduce the impact of. Relaxation exercises done on a regular basis are key elements, as is taking part in some exercise daily. One must find a balance of rest and activity. If you like swimming, water exercise is an extremely beneficial way to exercise the joints and muscles. The water supports the joints to encourage free movement while providing resistance to help build muscle strength. Water massage therapy is beneficial for many suffering from arthritis. Jet nozzles release warm water and air, massaging the body and helping to relax tight muscles.

In addition to balancing rest and activity, there are other techniques used to manage arthritis. These include planning ahead making work easier, maintaining proper body posture and practicing joint protection techniques.

The Nutritional Aspects

Patients treated for heart disease have been found to have a reduction in the severity of pain and swelling in their arthritic joints due to the nutritional therapy given to them to treat their heart disease. This observation led to further review of nutrition and arthritis and how to use nutrition to reduce the symptoms. As a result, a nutrition plan was laid out with eating guidelines and nutritional supplementation designed specifically to ease the pain and inflammation of arthritic joints.

They are the exact same strategies designed to help reduce the risk of heart disease! You can "kill two birds with one stone", so to speak. Try the following tips for eight weeks to see if it helps reduce symptoms, or share it with some you know and love who is afflicted with arthritis.

Raise blood pH.
Lower blood pH promotes formation of crystals in joints, which leads to arthritis. Every day, have a glass of carrot, wheat grass or cherry juice. The alkalizing effect on the blood helps to raise your blood pH. Avoid orange juice, grapefruit juice and other citrus juices as well as tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. These acidifying foods lower blood pH.

Eat chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll helps remove excess heavy metals from the joints. Heavy metal atoms cause accumulation of free radicals, highly reactive compounds that damage the joints. Be sure to drink a glass of green barley, use organic barley powder, chlorella or frozen wheat grass every day. Each is rich in green pigment.

Eat cayenne and garlic.
Garlic stimulates the immune system, which supports healing. Garlic also contains the antioxidant mineral selenium. It helps control free radical buildup. Both herbs have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to reduce swelling and pain. You can take a daily cayenne capsule, but some people get an upset stomach from this. Try it with bread or crackers. If it still bothers you, or you fear it will, do not take it. But do try to use garlic!

Eat omega-3 oils.
Omega-3 is primarily in flaxseed and fish oil and inhibits the production of leukotrienes, natural compounds that stimulate inflammation.

Eat black pepper.
Did you know that black pepper is a common remedy in traditional Chinese medicine? In a 2013 test tube study, researchers pretreated human cartilage cells with black pepper and then zapped the cells with an inflammatory protein. The cells inflammatory activity was inhibited, leading to the conclusion that pepper could be an effective arthritis treatment. Sprinkle black pepper on dinner, using frshly ground whole peppercorns to ensure you get pepper only. Or, try it as a supplement in 10mg capsules. Recommended: Source Naturals Bioperine Black Pepper Fruit Extract .

Experts recommend 1,000-mg. flaxseed oil capsule after each meal. The capsules can be found in any health food store. Another way to boost your omega-3 intake is to eat at least one, preferably two, helpings of fresh fish per week, but not fried!

Drink ginger tea.
In addition to being soothing to the stomach, ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. One cup of ginger tea a day is recommended.

Eat Certo.
Available in any supermarket, this pectin-containing gelatin powder is very effective at reducing swelling in joints. It is unclear, however, just why Certo relieves arthritis, but it is known to. Each day, try to consume on tablespoon (mix it with apple juice or another alkalizing fruit juice to form a soupy gelatin).

Cayenne. Organic Cayenne Pepper anti-inflammatory properties makes it a great herb for arthritis, diabetes, psoriasis and herpes related nerve damage.

Curry contains powerful antioxidants that may reduce pain and inflammation for arthritis sufferers.

Garlic appears to relieve some forms of arthritis pain. The sulfur contained in this product has been reported to benefit sufferers.

Grapes also contain boron and their skins contain a compound that blocks the inflammation that causes arthritis.

Milk is good for you. You've probably heard this since you were a child. It is the calcium in milk that helps keep our bones strong and healthy as we age. Combining calcium and magnesium is a powerful aid to slow loss of calcium. It reduces your risk for acquiring osteoporosis. If you're not fond of milk, or are lacose intolerant, try yogurt with acidophilus/probiotics. If you're not lactose intolerant but just don't care for drinking milk, try ice cream or cheese. If none of these work for you, choose calcium tablets.

Nuts, particularly almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts contain boron, a mineral that keeps bones strong and healthy, thus helping to prevent arthritis.

Turmeric. Embrace a new spice - turmeric. Research suggests it may ease arthritis pain. "Turmeric works along the lines of a prescription COX-2 inhibitor, but with the side effects." - Integrative medicine specialist Robin Miller, MD.

Eat it this way: Stir into side dishes or sprinkle on fish or chicken. Turmeric has a vibrant yellow color and a mild taste. Recommended: Organic Ground Turmeric Root#

Take multivitamin supplements.
A combination of antioxidant vitamins is the best way to fight free radicals. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants but to ensure you get enough, it is best to supplement your diet with multivitamins. Be sure to select an iron-free supplement. Too much iron has been linked to an elevated risk of heart disease.

Choose a supplement with no more than 1 mg of copper (half the government's recommended daily allowance). Your supplement should also include folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin D, zinc and calcium as any deficiencies in any of these nutrients can worsen arthritis. Also, the supplement should contain seleniumand vitamin E. Both nutrients are especially good for morning stiffness.

Take coenzyme Q-10 and Quercetin.
Coenzyme Q-10 is a remarkable substance that works to stabilize the membrane of every cell in your body. That prevents cell breakdown in your joints. Quercetin blocks the release of histamines (inflammation-producing chemicals) into the bloodstream. 30mg of coenzyme Q-10 is recommended taken after each meal and 100mg to 500mg of quercetin once a day.

Avoid caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine acts as a diuretic in your body resulting in washing out nutrients, thereby undermining your efforts to eat a healthful, nutrient-rich diet. Coffee, tea and soda, as well as chocolate are to be avoided. Drink decaffeinated forms and avoid chocolate.

Some of the above mentioned products may not appeal to you. Follow what you think you will be comfortable with. Anything you do to help yourself is something and who knows, as we are all uniquely created, one thing or another may give you some relief whereas others may not. Experiment, do what you can and follow your doctors orders at all times! In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to present this diet to him or her to be sure it is suitable and healthy for you. Make sure to discuss the supplements with your doctor, also. The best judge will be your body!

The diet was written and created by a highly respected and revered doctor in his field and is given as a guideline to help you work with your body and it's nutrition to reach optimum performance and relief of your arthritic symptoms. I am not qualified to endorse it or disapprove of it, only to share it in hopes you will find some relief.

Source:  Stephen Sinatra, MD, director of medical education at Manchester Hospital and a cardiologist in private practice. Reproduced with permission.

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