· Overview of Arthritis
Millions of people suffer from some form of arthritis. Substantial evidence now shows that pain and disability caused by arthritis can be alleviated, and even prevented, through diet, nutritional supplementation, stress reduction, and other alternative therapies.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, surrounding tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Among the oldest known afflictions of human beings, arthritis can affect virtually every part of the body: from the feet, to the knees, back, shoulders and fingers. According to the National Institutes of Health, arthritis affects range from slight pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints, to crippling and disability. Arthritis affects people of all ages. Approximately 15 percent of the population today is afflicted with arthritis or a related disorder, and that two hundred thousand children in the United States have some form of the disease
· Types of Arthritis
There are a variety of arthritic conditions, with the most common forms of the disease being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
· Causes of Arthritis
Arthritis is caused by a variety of factors, including joint instability, age-related changes, altered biochemistry, hormonal factors, and genetic disposition. Yet other environmental and psychological factors have also been found to bring on the condition. It is now accepted among most rheumatologists and allergists that some people do have allergy induced arthritis.
Stress can disrupt the body's hormonal balance as well. When stress interferes with the production of progesterone and thyroid hormone, menopausal difficulties increase. This accounts for the fact that a great many women develop a form of arthritis called "osteoarthritis" at this time. Stress induced cortisone deficiency can also be a factor in some forms of arthritis. When stress occurs, body systems release adrenalin and cortisone, a process that weakens the immune system.
· Treatment and Prevention of Arthritis
The primary keys for treating and preventing arthritis are proper diet and nutrition, detoxification, and stress reduction. Special care should also be taken to avoid substances that might cause allergic reactions to the body, and when needed, hormonal supplementation and replacement is essential. Pain management and correction of skeletal/postural problems can also be addressed through a variety of other modalities, including herbal remedies, environmental medicine. Bodywork, chiropractic, acupunctue, and Ayurvedic medicine.
· Diet and Nutrition
For decades, medical researchers, including those with the Arthritis Foundation itself, refused to acknowledge that diet, nutrition, and food allergies could play a role in immune function and arthritis. Today, however, proper diet and nutrition are believed to be key elements in the prevention of all types of disease, including arthritis.