Many forms of arthritis are caused by chronic low lying inflammation. Inflammatory cells called cytokines lead to the production of enzymes that attack the tissues and break down cartilage in joints. The word 'arthritis' literally means inflammation (itis) of the joints (arthri).
When the body feels as though it is 'under attack', it responds by sending white blood cells to that area in an attempt to repair. In cases of chronic inflammation, when these cells fall victim of misfiring, this 'repair' actually becomes the damage. The increase in blood flow to these areas causes tender, red, and swollen joints. In turn, the nerves are stimulated, and pain is the result. The heightened number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint can cause irritation, wearing of the cartilage, and swelling of the joint lining (synovium).
Common Types of Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Gouty Arthritis
Other painful disorders that still involve joint and muscle discomfort, such as Fibromyalgia, may not contain detectable inflammation, but should still be treated with the same all natural anti-inflammatory approach.
General symptoms often associated with arthritic inflammation include:
Chronic body aches and pains
Joint pain and stiffness
Redness and swelling
Sensitivity to the touch
Sometimes Associated Skin Conditions (acne, psoriasis, rash)
Flu like symptoms- fever, chills, fatigue, appetite loss, headaches
A systemic disease involving multiple joints, typically in a symmetrical pattern. It is not uncommon to have both hands and wrists involved at the same time making simple daily tasks, such as opening jars and turning a door handle, extremely difficult. When the small joints of the feet are affected, walking can be very painful. As the chronic inflammation persists, so does the damage to the tissue, cartilage, and bone. This can easily pave the path to bone and muscle weakness, joint deformity, and loss of function all together.
A condition often sighted in patients who suffer with the chronic skin condition, psoriasis. This type of arthritis characteristically affects the tips of the fingers and toes. However, one in five people also experience attacks in their spine, as well.
Gouty Arthritis (metabolic arthritis) is a metabolic disease where uric acid deposits build in the tissue and joints. Overproduction and/or under-excretion of uric acid through the kidneys initiates excess storage in the joints, tissue, and organs resulting in an inflammatory response. This reaction ensues the hot, shiny, often excruciating joint pain known as a gout attack. It is one of the most harrowing forms of arthritis and poses an excessively high risk for joint degeneration and deformity.
Lupus is a systemic condition often causing 'flares' of symptoms which may diminish over time. No two cases are alike and can range from mild to severe and temporary to permanent. Serious cases can lead to problems with the kidneys, heart, lungs, blood, and the nervous system. Symptoms include skin lesions, swelling, joint pain and stiffness, fatigue, fever, anemia, headache, light sensitivity, hair loss, memory loss/confusion, dry eyes, chest pain, weight changes, shortness of breath, finger and toes discoloration (Reynaud's phenomenon), and butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose.
This form is a localized disease, not systemic like rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms are usually localized to the affected joint with pain worsening during use, while improving with rest. Morning stiffness is common, but typically subsides within 30 minutes. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can affect any joint, most often seen in the fingers, knees, hips, shoulders, and spine. As the disease progresses, the pain can become rather persistent and difficult to manage. Severe cartilage loss leading to joint instability can occur.
There are over 100 different types of Arthritis involving joint pain, from Bursitis to Gout to many in between. Inflammation is at the root of them all. Can we think about just targeting and treating that root cause, rather than trying to focus on which one you are actually diagnosed with?
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