Arthritis is a growing health problem and a common cause of disability in many industrialized countries, including the United States. It is estimated that nearly 80% of Americans above the age of 50 show some signs of joint destruction on x-rays, including cartilage erosion and bone disfigurement. One factor in the excessive “wear and tear” of joints is thought to be an age-related decline in the natural synthesis of glucosamine, which contributes to joint lubrication and cartilage formation. There are many medical conditions that affect our lives, but perhaps none more unbearable than arthritis. It is a huge problem and many people all over the world suffer from some form of arthritis. There are many kinds of this illness which may cause joint pain, stiffness, a lack of mobility, and eventually deformity. Osteoarthritis is one “wear and tear” arthritis of middle and old age. It is by far one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting up to one in six people in Europe and the United States. Its effect can have a profound impact on one’s quality of life. All of us are at risk, depending on our genetic predispositions, however there are also some main risk groups, such as heavy manual workers, sportsmen and women, the overweight or obese, and believe it or not, women who wear high heals often.
What happens is that over a period of time, the cartilage layer over the bony surfaces which works as a natural shock absorber gets worn away until, eventually, bone rubs against bone. At the same time, the lubricating fluid in the joint becomes thinner and more watery, and the surrounding tissue swells and thickens as a result of inflammation which is being set-up. Finally, little spikes of bone grow into the joint cavity, greatly reducing its function and, of course, its mobility.
Treatments for arthritis in conventional medicine offer both physical remedies, such as physiotherapy and osteopathy, chiropractic and drug therapy (such as using methotrexate). The drugs that are used are simply pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs. These can be taken either orally or used topically as a cream. They are both reasonably successful if taken regularly, but they can also produce unwanted side effects. These side effects may include allergic reactions to some of the drugs, but the anti-inflammatories can produce anything ranging from indigestion and stomach aches to gastric ulcers, which have a tendency to bleed and occasionally become fatal. On top of this, I haven’t even mentioned an unexpected interaction with other drugs that the patient may be taking. There are so many people who die every year from these side effects. There are indeed quite few alternative treatments, including physical remedies and herbs, aloe vera, ginger, and another natural substances that have been proven to exert pain killing and anti-inflammatory effects. The trouble is that you have to take many different ones together to get the desired effect. Ideally, the best complementary remedy would be a combination of the most powerful herbs and supplements. One just needs to assemble them into one truly effective mixture that will deliver dramatic results. If one could create such a product you can just imagine the number of people that could be helped to live more active and pain free lives!
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