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A little about Joints and Osteoarthritis
Smooth, healthy joints
Healthy cartilage and sufficient lubrication will allow the more than two hundred joints in the human body to rotate and move smoothly and painlessly.
The building blocks of healthy joints include glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and keratin.
All of these are substances that occur naturally in the body.
Painful, stiff joints
Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints causing immense pain and stiffness or immobility.
Osteoarthritis is also caused through normal joint wear and tear and is also known simply as Arthritis.
In most cases, it is caused through overloading of the joints or inherited factors.
Inflammation also plays a more important role than what was originally thought.
Elderly people are more affected.
However, Osteoarthritis is also common in athletes and young people, usually by overloading or damage to the joints.
What happens in the case of osteoarthritis in the joints?
Overloading creates damage by changing the structure of the cartilage in the joints.
The cartilage at the ends of the bones in the joints start to then carry more water.
These ends are damaged with tears, cracks and blisters.
In response to this cartilage damage, the bone grows thicker on the edges of the joints.
There is now chronic inflammation in the synovial tissue in the joints.
The amount of fluid in the joint increases, making the weight-bearing surfaces of the joints irregular.
The result of both overloading and wear and tear are symptoms of pain, stiffness and swelling in the affected joint areas - eventually leading to the point where the joints can no longer be used without severe pain.
The diagnosis is difficult.
Often painful and stiff joints show on osteoarthritis.
On an X-Ray one would see the joint space narrowing or outgrowth prefixes to the ends of the bones.
Only over a period of time would one be able to see how the illness develops.
There is however no clear link between the symptoms of the patient and the abnormalities seen by the doctor on the X-Rays taken.
How common is Osteoarthritis?
Painful and stiff joints are a common complaint with.
At least 20% of men and women over the age of 60 are affected.
This figure is only of the population in the Netherlands and the Netherlands there are over 600 000 people!
In particular, as women get older, they are more prone to experience this disease.
At the age of 80 at least 40% of the population are affected by Osteoarthritis.
Which joints are most commonly affected?
Osteoarthritis often occurs in knees, lower back, hips, shoulders, wrists and/or hands.
The main symptoms are morning stiffness and persistent pain in the joints.
Walking longer distances becomes increasingly difficult and painful as well as simple activities such as bending or climbing stairs.
Sometimes these symptoms may show improvement during the course of the day and sometimes there may be just a deterioration as the day progresses.
Regular treatment of Osteoarthritis
The standard treatment for osteoarthritis is a strong movement towards more information (which has brought about excellent research results with the development of Joint XL) along with movement exercises and physiotherapy.
Treatment also consists of painkillers to assist in relieving the symptoms and in some cases heat therapy can help.
In very serious cases, surgery is required for a knee, hip or shoulder replacement.
There are no drugs to date that can cure osteoarthritis or that can inhibit the wear and tear processes in the joints.
Disadvantages of drugs in Osteoarthritis
The current drugs do relieve the symptoms of pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis, but unfortunately do not provide for repairing the damage in the joint.
The joints are no better and the deterioration process continues.
In addition, drugs also have adverse side effects.
As pain occurs daily, there is an inclination toward an excessive use of painkillers.
The most commonly used painkiller are NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) which often give stomach problems and risk gastrointestinal bleeding with prolonged use.
Known NSAIDs are ibuprofen and diclofenac.
In order to avoid the side effects doctor often precribes medications to assist in protecting the stomach along with NSAIDs. (Fortunately, Joint XL has proven to provide protection to the Gastro-Intestinal tract)
Newer painkillers are called COX-2 inhibitors, of which recently, Vioxx ® world-wide has been taken from the market due to adverse reactions to the heart.
Because so many people suffer from osteoarthritis and current drugs do not do more than to fight the symptoms, research has been under way to examine other solutions to the disease.
The food supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin are increasing because or their beneficial effects.
Joint XL not only contains glucosamine and chondroitin, but also keratin, dermatin and heperin which make up all 5 glycosaminoglycoids that are required to make up cartilage along with the all important Hyaluronic Acid.
In recent years these supplements are often used and recommended by the medical fraternity in accordance with international guidelines in the treatment or osteoarthritis (source "European Association against Rheumatism).