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Oh, My Aching Joints!

OsteoarthritisJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common progressive and degenerative joint disorder, as well as the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Due to the obesity epidemic and aging of the population, OA is expected to affect one in four adults, or 67 million people, by the year 2030. Arthritis is a term for a diverse group of chronic painful inflammatory conditions that negatively affect joints and surrounding structures. Many factors are involved in the epidemiology or root causes of OA, particularly in the weight bearing joints. These can include genetic predisposition, aging, obesity, muscle weakness and female gender. Additionally, joint injury or deformity, recurring joint movement, overuse such as with sports, or repetitive heavy lifting can repeatedly damage joints, tendons and ligaments and speed cartilage breakdown, resulting in painful movement and other symptoms.

As OA most often affects middle-aged and elderly people, many think of the disease as simply normal “wear and tear” on the joints. This is inaccurate, however, as OA affects not only the joint but also the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments and bone. Breakdown of cartilage that normally cushions the ends of bones between the joints occurs over time, as tendons and ligaments deteriorate. Bone spurs may develop on joint edges, accompanied by various degrees of joint lining inflammation. The estimated lifetime risk of symptomatic knee OA is approximately 40 percent in men and 47 percent in women. That risk increases to 60 percent in those who are considered overweight or obese with a BMI greater than 30. Symptomatic OA is generally defined by the presence of joint pain, aching, tenderness, stiffness and mild swelling, as well as loss of flexibility, making movements like walking, climbing stairs and even holding onto objects difficult.

As there are no proven protocols for reversing damage caused by OA, treatment is aimed at reducing joint pain and improving function. Modifying certain risk factors may reduce the risk of OA and may help prevent subsequent pain, stiffness and disability.

Weight maintenance: Carrying extra body weight puts additional pressure on weight bearing joints. Weight loss, if needed, can lessen the stress on the knees, hips and back and help prevent further damage. Metabolically active fat tissue produces cytokines that can cause harmful, painful inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to ease symptoms such as pain and swelling.

Exercise: Physical activity is considered one of the most beneficial ways to manage symptoms of OA. Regular gentle exercise such as walking, yoga, tai chi, stretching or swimming can effectively improve balance and strengthen muscles, as well as increase range of motion and reduce pain and stiffness. Exercise can help to prevent muscle weakness and may also improve balance, making one less susceptible to falls and fractures. Physical therapy can be helpful to strengthen muscles and stabilize affected joints. Exercising to the point of pain is not recommended and is an indication that the exercise intensity level needs to be lowered.

Nutrition: Following a balanced, whole food anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet can help to improve OA symptoms. This healthy fiber-rich diet provides immune and health supportive nutrients which mitigate painful inflammation and also keep chronic age-related diseases at bay. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are likely to worsen inflammatory conditions, while foods rich in antioxidants may help reduce inflammation induced cell and tissue damage.

Nutritional Supplements: Glucosamine sulfate provides raw material needed for the maintenance and repair of healthy cartilage and other joint structures. Chondroitin protects the cartilage and attracts fluids that help cushion joints. Botanicals such as ginger, rosemary and turmeric have naturally occurring anti-inflammatory compounds. Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been consistently shown to have anti-inflammatory activities that have a positive effect on joint swelling and flexibility.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality nutritional supplements in support of overall healthy function:

Advanced Pain...Advanced Pain Formula by Diamond Formulations: Advanced Pain Formula provides specific ingredients that relieve minor aches and pains, support healthy joint function and encourage a normal stress and inflammatory response. Ingredients include magnesium malate, MSM, turmeric, alpha lipoic acid and hyaluronic acid. Free of wheat, soy, yeast, gluten, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Non-GMO kosher formulation.

Arthroben Unflavored...Arthroben™ Unflavored/Unsweetened by Designs for Health: This powdered formula provides collagen peptides and flavonoids for the dietary management of metabolic processes of osteoarthritis. Specific ingredients help to reduce inflammation, provide antioxidant protection to support joint health and deliver nutritional building blocks for cartilage, ligaments and skin. Gluten, dairy and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Glucosamine/MSM with...Glucosamine/MSM with Joint Comfort Herbs by Pure Encapsulations®: This formula provides glucosamine sulfate, MSM, ginger and turmeric in support of healthy cartilage formation, as well as joint structure and function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Bone and Joint...Bone and Joint Support by Quantum Nutrition Labs: This comprehensive formula provides quantum-state support for proper joint function and a healthy inflammatory response, as well as healthy bones and joint tissues. Non-GMO vegan formulation.

 

References:
Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920533/
By The Numbers. Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Conditions (AORC). https://www.boneandjointburden.org/docs/By%20The%20Numbers%20-%20Arthritis_4E_Nov%202018%20%282%29.pdf
Osteoarthritis. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/
What is the best diet for osteoarthritis? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322603.php