Richard E. Buckley, MD
"It is more important to know the patient who suffers from the disease than the disease from which the patient suffers."-Sir William Osler
Definition: Arthr-itis = Joint inflammation
Do you suffer from inflamed, painful or stiff joints? Inflammation of joints can be caused by many things. Most commonly, arthritis is due to accumulated joint injury and stress through constant wear and tear over time (osteoarthritis). It is important to have a health care professional assist you in the diagnosis of your particular kind of arthritis as there are many additional causes for example genetic abnormalities, cancer, infections Interestingly, the medications most often tried for relief of joint pain caused by osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis) and rheumatoid arthritis, the so called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) actually inhibit cartilage repair and accelerate cartilage destruction thus decreasing the ability of the body to heal itself.
"The Old Ship is not in a state to make many voyages. But the flag is still at the mast and I am still at the wheel."-Walt Whitman
We have learned more of natures secrets since Walts time and I would like to pass some of what we discovered along so that you may find relief from the scourge of arthritis. Are there ways to not merely suppress arthritic pain symptoms but rather promote healing?
The design of our body is magnificent and indeed there is a natural joint repair mechanism in place. Glucosamine sulfate, an amino acid sugar formed in the body from glucose, plays a major role in the formation of the tissues and fluids necessary for cartilage to function. It has demonstrated the ability to restore the gelatinous lubricating consistency of the fluids and tissues of joints (including the back). Glucosamine sulfate is critical to joint integrity and found in high concentrations in healthy individuals. Glucosamine stimulates cartilage synthesis keeping joints repaired thus relieving joint pain, tenderness and swelling.
Due to excessive demand, wear and the gradual decrease of glucosamine in the body, it has been recommended that adding glucosamine to ones daily nutrition regimen could be beneficial. Studies around the world appear supportive of this recommendation. Arthritis patients taking Glucosamine sulfate reported a significant reduction in joint pain, tenderness and swelling. Glucosamine appears to offer substantial hope for the many sufferers of arthritis because of its beneficial effects and apparent lack of undesirable effects.
"To be seventy years young is sometimes more hopeful than to be forty years old."-Oliver Wendell Holmes
Sea cucumbers are marine relatives of starfish and sea urchins. They are enriched with many proteins and nutrients including muccopolysaccharides and chondroitins which can lubricate joints and connective tissues. Proteins derived from Sea cucumber appear to have the desirable properties of being prostaglandin and leukotriene inhibitors.
In recent years a great deal of interest has been focused on understanding the roles that prostaglandins and leukotrienes play in our health. These substances can contribute biochemically to inflammation and pain. Indeed the standard anti-inflammatory drugs work, in part, through inhibiting prostaglandins and leukotrienes
Extra, Extra-Read all about it!
In the middle of writing this I have just received notification from a major pharmaceutical company that their nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic drug introduced in 1997 for pain has been withdrawn from the market effective immediately. Why? The company took this action because of "post marketing reports of severe hepatic (liver) failure, resulting in four deaths and eight liver transplants." I mention this to emphasize that the currently used drugs can have nasty side effects and that other forms of therapy should be considered. Kidney (renal) failure and stomach ulcers are other common side effects seen with anti inflammatory drugs.
Shark cartilage, a mucopolysaccharide, supports joint cartilage improving mobility and increasing the viscosity of synovial fluid. It has demonstrated antiarthritic, antiangiogenic, antibacterial and antitumor activity. Literature states that the antiangiogenic properties of shark cartilage prevent new blood vessels from invading and degrading cartilage.
"It is not enough for a great nation to have added new years to life. Our objective must be to add new life to those years."-John Fitzgerald Kennedy
The Yucca root, found in southwestern deserts of the US and in Mexico, is rich in steroid-like saponins that elevate the bodys production of cortisone to aid in anti-inflammatory actions for arthritis and rheumatism relief.
Strengthening exercises and range of motion movements along with attention to postural elements can help restore and then maintain muscle and joint function.
"Overall, a useful rule of thumb is to assume that any change or any new symptom is due to a potentially treatable problem, ;not just old age."-Besdine
As with so many things in life, the answers we seek tend to be multi-factorial. The information provided herein is introductory only and the reader is encouraged to continue investigating along the lines of his or her interest.
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Copyright 1998, Natural Connections, Inc.