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Arthritis is "joint inflammation". Symptoms include pain, swelling, heat and/or redness of and around any joint of the body. Any one of these symptoms is sufficient to make the diagnosis, though they may all be present simultaneously. There are many esoteric forms of arthritis, but only two common ones: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, also called "degenerative joint disease ", is just that: a disease where the internal structure of the joint degenerates, causing excessive friction, swelling, deformity, and pain. It most often affects the large joints of the hips and knees, as well as the much-used joints of the hands. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a more generalized, more serious ailment, and is one of a group of diseases known as "autoimmune disorders ", which are believed to be caused mostly by the body’s own immune system "going haywire" and attacking parts of the body as if those parts were foreign invaders (like viruses or bacteria). In RA, joints are attacked. RA can cause far more harm in the body than joint destruction and pain, including: heart and lung nodules, fatigue, anemia, white blood cell abnormalities, kidney problems and many others. Commonly though, symptoms and signs are limited to the joints.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are chronic joint pain, swelling and inflammation, most often of the joints closest to the palms of the hands, and most severely felt in the mornings.
Both these most common forms of arthritis should be diagnosed and followed by a physician. Note: some promising new treatments for autoimmune disease are now being investigated, such as the injection into the body of the very substances being attacked by the body’s immune system. The idea is to overload the immune system’s out-of-control attacks and thereby stop them. The idea seems to work in preliminary studies. Other immune-modulating treatments are in the works and the prospects look bright, because we are finally addressing the underlying causes of this group of illnesses.
Nutritional factors: Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers should avoid the following foods: tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers (all kinds: bell, chili, the black kind used as a spice, red pepper, etc.), tobacco in all its forms, and all milk products. All but milk are members of the Nightshade group of foods, which can exacerbate the symptoms of some rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. There may be other foods that exacerbate symptoms in certain individuals. Experimentation with and elimination of those foods is encouraged.
Nutritional supplementation that may be helpful in arthritis includes: vitamin C; bioflavonoids (especially quercetin); vitamin B6; GLA; glucosamine sulfate -a natural substance used to treat osteoarthritis that can rebuild worn or damaged cartilage; and S-adenosyl-methionine (or " SAMe ", which is also used to treat depression - see below, under Fatigue). Several of these nutrients are found in balanced doses in the BioSlim Formulas. GLA (an Essential Fatty Acid) is available in gel-caps, and should be taken by anyone suffering from arthritis. On a more experimental level, SOD (SuperOxide Dismutase) and apple cider vinegar may be helpful.
Case History: Angie was a 50 year old woman who came as a new patient describing her symptoms over the past year: debilitating fatigue, foot pain in the mornings which later progressed to foot and hand pains, and wrist pain. Angie was typing long hours at work. I suspected carpal tunnel syndrome, but decided to check for rheumatoid arthritis as well. Angie’s labs revealed a raging case of RA. The rheumatoid condition had caused a mild carpal tunnel syndrome, a possible complication involving the wrist joints.
Angie started on a strict dietary program, and since she was a smoker, she was told that she must quit (no options there). A complete nutritional program was begun, as outlined above. Angie’s symptoms abated over the next four to six weeks and she is now symptom-free, except occasionally on a morning following a day of "cheating".