Arthritis and gout are painful, inflammatory conditions affecting the joints.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It causes destruction of the cartilage and other parts of the joints and usually affects the knees, hips, hands and the spine. It usually affects older people and can eventually cause a great deal of pain and disability.
Acupuncture can help to reduce pain and improve joint mobility in people with osteoarthritis. There are also several herbal medicines that have proven benefits in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body’s own immune system fails to recognise the difference between foreign material and its own cells. Rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects the joints. And, there are several different autoantibodies involved in the autoimmune process. As a result, the joints can become severely swollen and painful during the intense inflammatory reaction.
Autoimmune conditions are complex, chronic conditions and there are usually two main influences involved. For instance, factors such as our genetics and environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle, play a role. It is important to identify the potential factors that promote the ongoing autoimmune process. Halting the autoimmune process is the main priority. With the aim of preventing a flare-up of the condition.
Diet and rheumatoid arthritis
Research suggests that dietary factors might be particularly important in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. This also offers a potential way to avoid developing the disease in susceptible people. For instance, scientists suggest the Mediterranean diet can help to reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. A Mediterranean style diet is high in anti-inflammatory foods such as oily fish, vegetables and fruit.
In contrast to the Mediterranean diet, the typical Western diet is pro-inflammatory. Being high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, sugars and meat. And low in vegetables and fruit. This unhealthy diet creates poor gut barrier function and an imbalance in gut bacteria. As a result chronic inflammation can develop in the gut. And over time this can lead to inflammation in other parts of the body.
In addition, scientists have identified several herbal medicines with anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity. Of course, herbal medicines have been used traditionally for symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Now scientists are finding that natural compounds are able to regulate or modulate the immune system.
Gout is a very painful type of arthritis. The pain is due to crystals of uric acid forming within the joint, usually the big toe joint. The pain is severe and usually occurs suddenly, especially in the middle of the night. An attack of gout will usually go away by itself in a few days, but recurring gout can lead to joint damage. It is best to learn to spot the signs and symptoms so that you can prevent future attacks.
See my posts on arthritis and gout.