Osteoarthritis is a clinical syndrome caused by abnormal wearing of the cartilage in the joints and destruction or decrease of synovial fluid.
Cartilage is a special tissue that covers the ends of bones and acts as a cushion inside joints and synovial fluid is important for lubrication. As articular cartilage wears away, until the underlying bone is exposed and the patient starts to experience pain on weight bearing or moving. Inflammatory symptoms such as redness and swelling do not usually occur.
Onset is gradual, with pain increasing imperceptibly over month to years. Movements become restricted and the affected joints can demonstrate deformity in later stages. Decreased movement due to pain and stiffness can lead to loss of muscle and ligament tone in the long term.
Although osteoarthritis normally accompanies ageing, many experts now believe that osteoarthritis is a disorder caused by a genetic susceptibility combined with injury to the joint
- Chronic pain in the large weight bearing joints
- Loss of mobility
- Sharp ache, or a burning sensation in the associated muscles and tendons
- Muscle spasms
- Joint may fill with fluid
- Crepitus – cracking sensation when the affected joint is moved or touched
- Joints can become enlarges, deformed or develop bony nodules
Dietary factors – A diet high in refined and processed foods, sugars, alcohol, bad fats, red meats and other anti-nutrients can greatly exacerbate arthritic pain. Other foods contain beneficial phytochemicals which help combat symptoms. Balancing these foods in the diet can make huge differences to the severity of arthritic pain, allowing more freedom of movement. Consulting a qualified nutritional therapist is a useful way to identify the most important changes for you. They can also help you with practical ways to incorporate these changes into your daily life.
Excess body weight – Being overweight is a risk factor for osteoarthritis. The excess weight not only creates extra mechanical stress but is also responsible for certain metabolic changes that predispose overweight people to the condition. For those already suffering form osteoarthritis, attaining their ideal body weight can be an excellent step in managing symptoms. Weight management does not have to be an arduous process. With the help of A Smart Nutrition’s Weight Management Programme it is possible to lose weight safely and effectively whilst still eating the foods you enjoy.
Supplementation – Many different scientific studies support the efficacy of certain key nutrients in managing arthritis symptoms. Some such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help to replace lost cartilage whilst others help to tackle symptoms such as pain, stiffness and inflammation. If you are considering supplementation for your condition it is advisable to consult a qualified nutritional therapist. At Smart Nutrition we would be able to help you chose the most effective combination of supplements for your individual symptom picture, which can help you to save both time and money.