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Senior Health Week: Arthritis
Health News You Can Use •

Latest Arthritis News:

Chinese Herbal Remedy May Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Researchers say an extract of the Chinese herbal remedy Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TWHF) may alleviate arthritis symptoms.

Recent Arthritis News:

Celadrin™ Improves Knee Function in Arthritis Patients: Researchers say cetylated fatty acids seem to significantly improve knee flexing compared to a placebo.

Hip Osteoarthritis Far Lower Among Chinese Than White Americans: Researchers found that "hip osteoarthritis was 80 to 90 percent less frequent in Chinese study participants than in white persons in the U.S.

Synvisc Relieves Pain of Knee Osteoarthritis: Researchers say more than one third of the patients in studies showed significant improvements in symptoms of pain, stiffness and physical functioning.

Knee Osteoarthritis Patients Need to Exercise Despite Pain: Researchers say maintenance of muscle strength plays a key role in helping knee osteoarthritis patients cope with their condition.

Optimism Produces More Pain Relief for Arthritis Sufferers: Researchers say arthritis sufferers who are optimistic about pending hip or knee surgery are going to experience better pain relief than patients who have low expectations.

Leg Bone Misalignment at Knee Linked to Severe Arthritis: Researchers say patients undergoing knee surgery are especially vulnerable to developing degenerative arthritis if the leg bones are not properly aligned.

Crushed Glass Seen as Future Arthritis Therapy: Researchers say crushed glass and radioactive glass spheres be used to help mend the bones and joints of arthritis patients in the not too distant future.

Leeches Help Reduce Muscle Pain of Arthritis: Scientists in Russia report that leeches are effective in treating myofascial pain syndrome, a muscular condition associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Disease Self-Management Program Helps Arthritis Patients: Researchers report a 17-hour course geared toward managing chronic diseases could help arthritis patients delay – and possibly prevent – disabilities.

Over Two Decades, Rheumatoid Arthritis Becomes Severe for 30 Percent: Researchers reported finding that the progression of joint destruction for these patients averaged two to three percent per year.

Walking Improves Quality of Life for Knee Osteoarthritis Patients: To a lesser extent, home-based exercise also appears to improve pain, ability to function and quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis, according to Turkish researchers.

New Online Yoga Guide Offers Help in Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis: Researchers say physical activity may optimize both physical and mental health and play a vital role in disease management.

New Option for Patients With Early-Stage Knee Osteoarthritis: Patients suffering from early-stage osteoarthritis now have a promising new alternative that could delay knee replacement surgery.

Non-Smokers May Have Reduced Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Results of a new study show postmenopausal women who have never smoked, or who had quit smoking 10 years earlier, may have a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain and Depression Impact Functioning of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: University of Michigan researchers found that patients who did poorly on cognitive tests also reported more pain and depression.

Over One-Third of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Quit Work Within 5 Years: Of the 732 patients who completed the follow-up, only 60 percent of those employed at the beginning of the study were employed five years after onset.

Genetic Factors May Increase the Risk of Osteoarthritis: Researchers say the finding could lead to new diagnostic measures and treatments in the future.

Remicade Provides Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief in As Little As 48 Hours: Researchers say it also could substantially reduce treatment time for some rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Exercise May Help Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis Avoid Osteoporosis: Researchers say physical activity including muscle strengthening exercises may play a part in the prevention of bone loss

FDA Urged to Take Arthritis Drug Arava Off the Market: The advocacy group Public Citizen, citing toxicity concerns, has called on the U.S. Food and Drug Admistration to take the arthritis drug, Arava, off the market.

New Guidelines Issued for Treating Arthritis Pain: The American Pain Society has released its new guidelines for treating arthritis pain, including the use of the widely controversial pain killer oxycontin in cases of severe pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis More Disabling for Some Smokers: Women who smoke are at higher risk of developing severe rheumatoid arthritis, and the disease may be even more disabling for smokers who lack the GSTM1 gene, according to a report in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Arthritis Primer:

The word arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but is often used to refer to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. These diseases may affect not only the joints but also other parts of the body, including important supporting structures such as muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments, as well as some internal organs. This fact sheet focuses on pain caused by two of the most common forms of arthritis—osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain is the body’s warning system, alerting you that something is wrong. Most forms of arthritis are associated with pain that can be divided into two general categories: acute and chronic. Acute pain is temporary. It can last a few seconds or longer but wanes as healing occurs. Chronic pain, such as that seen in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, ranges from mild to severe and can last a lifetime.

Chronic pain is a major health problem in the United States and is one of the most weakening effects of arthritis. More than 40 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, and many have chronic pain that limits daily activity. Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form of arthritis, affecting about 16 million Americans, while rheumatoid arthritis, which affects about 2.1 million Americans, is the most crippling form of the disease.

The pain of arthritis may come from different sources. These may include inflammation of the synovial membrane (tissue that lines the joints), the tendons, or the ligaments; muscle strain; and fatigue. A combination of these factors contributes to the intensity of the pain. The pain of arthritis varies greatly from person to person, for reasons that doctors do not yet understand completely. Factors that contribute to the pain include swelling within the joint, the amount of heat or redness present, or damage that has occurred within the joint. In addition, activities affect pain differently so that some patients note pain in their joints after first getting out of bed in the morning whereas others develop pain after prolonged use of the joint.

There is no single treatment that applies to all people with arthritis, but rather the doctor will develop a management plan designed to minimize your specific pain and improve the function of your joints. A number of treatments can provide short-term pain relief.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are chronic diseases that may last a lifetime. Learning how to manage your pain over the long term is an important factor in controlling the disease and maintaining a good quality of life.

Background information provided by: The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892


































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