Tag Archives: arthritis

Is it Okay to Exercise if you Suffer from Arthritis?

Because arthritis sufferers experience pain when they move, many conclude that not moving is healthier because it doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, that is one instance where listening to your body is not the best course of action. I hope the following information will alter that conclusion.

First, some startling statistics on arthritis from Ashley Boynes.

Some 50 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s 22 per cent of the population, more than 1-in-5 adults!

Arthritis costs the US economy $128 BILLION per year.

Sad statistic – 31 per cent of US 18-64 year olds with arthritis either can’t work, or report work limitations.

Arthritis is the number one MOST COMMON disability.

Some 32 percent of veterans surveyed in 36 States had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared with 22 percent of non-veterans, representing a 50 per cent increased risk for arthritis for veterans.

More than 1,000,000 joints will be replaced this year alone.

To answer the question about suitability of exercising with arthritis, I recently attended a Northwestern Memorial Hospital Healthy Transitions presentation on Arthritis and Exercise.
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5 Ways to manage arthritis pain – Harvard

No one has to explain arthritis pain to me. I have lived with it in both my hands, at the base of my thumbs, for years.

Arthritis is a painful problem that can interfere with your ability to do the things you enjoy. But you can take steps to manage arthritis by protecting your joints, reducing discomfort, and improving mobility.

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Physical or occupational therapists can be very helpful in teaching you how to modify activities and accomplish daily tasks more easily in order to manage arthritis. But there are simple things you can do for yourself, starting today. Here are five of them:

Keep moving. Avoid holding one position for too long. When working at a desk, for example, get up and stretch every 15 minutes. Do the same while sitting at home reading or watching television. Continue reading

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How healthy are sweet potatoes?

I have posted on the health benefits of sweet potatoes previously, but, I think good information bears expanding. Here is a very useful infographic.

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Here are a couple of highlights, but click on this link for the entire spread.

In addition, WebMD has an informative spread on then, too. Under the  heading Antioxidants Aplenty it offers: “Not all sweet potatoes are orange. Their skins and insides can be white, yellow, brown, red, pink, and purple. The range of color brings different nutrients to the table. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are thought to contain super-high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. As these substances pass through your system, they balance out free radicals — chemicals that harm your cells.”

Under the heading Healthy Prep Is Easy it says: “The way you cook your sweet potatoes can make a big difference in the nutrition you’ll get from the dish. One study measured how many carotenoids, like beta-carotene, stayed in the food afterward. The simplest method, oven baking, turned out to be the best.”

Tony

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Daily aspirin benefits outweigh risk to stomach – Study

As a daily consumer of aspirin for the arthritis in my hands, I was pleased to run across this new study from Cardiff University on the drug’s benefits.

Stomach bleeds caused by aspirin are considerably less serious than the spontaneous bleeds that can occur in people not taking the drug, concludes a study led by Cardiff University.

 

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Published in the journal Public Library of Science, the extensive study of literature on aspirin reveals that while regular use of the drug increases the risk of stomach bleeds by about a half, there is no valid evidence that any of these bleeds are fatal.

Professor Peter Elwood from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Although many people use aspirin daily to reduce the risk of health problems such as cancer and heart disease, the wider use of the drug is severely limited because of the side effect of bleeding from the stomach…”

“With our study showing that there is no increased risk of death from stomach bleeding in people who take regular aspirin, we hope there will be better confidence in the drug and wider use of it by older people, leading to important reductions in deaths and disablement from heart disease and cancer across the community.”

Professor Peter Elwood, School of Medicine
Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death and disability across the world, and research has shown that a small daily dose of aspirin can reduce the occurrence of both diseases by around 20-30%.

Recent research has also shown that low-doses of aspirin given to patients with cancer, alongside chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, is an effective additional treatment, reducing the deaths of patients with bowel, and possibly other cancers, by a further 15%.

The study ‘Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials to ascertain fatal gastrointestinal bleeding events attributable to preventive low-dose aspirin: No evidence of increased risk’ can be found in Public Library of Science.

Tony

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Exercise can ease arthritis pain – Harvard

We don’t need excuses to blow off exercising. It’s too hot/too cold, I’m too tired/too sore, you name it. When you have a chronic condition like rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, you have a built in excuse for not exercising. It might hurt.

As the Harvard Health Publication says, “Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can cause pain and stiffness that makes moving the last thing you want to do.

“But staying active is important. Not only is it beneficial for your general health — it’s also a way to strengthen your joints, improve your range of motion, and give you the opportunity to take part in the activities you enjoy.

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“For people with RA, it’s best to take a cautious and strategic approach when starting an exercise program. An individualized program — ideally developed with the help of a physical therapist — can help you protect vulnerable joints while strengthening surrounding muscles. A well-rounded exercise program should include each of these elements: Continue reading

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Some Common Painkillers are Dangerous – Study

As I mentioned a couple of days ago when posting on cold-brewed coffee, I drink decaf because I don’t like any kind of drugs in my system. Regular readers know that I suffer from severe arthritis in both hands. I took Naproxen Sodium once for something else, but found that it eased my arthritis pain. My doctor and I agreed that the Naproxen Sodium (an NSAID – see below) was too strong for me to take on a regular basis because of possible liver and other damage. All of that preamble is to put into some perspective this latest information on common painkillers – NSAIDs.aspirin-nsaid-allergy-chicago-rotskoff

FACTS about arthritis medicine (NSAID):
NSAIDs is an abbreviation for Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and is used to treat a wide range of diseases, in particular disorders in the muscular and bone system, where the drug counteracts swelling, pain and limitations in movement associated with inflammation.
• NSAIDs are not antibiotics and therefore do not help to fight infections caused by bacteria.
• NSAIDs are in Denmark sold both in low doses (Ibuprofen 200 mg/tablet) without a prescription and in higher doses and other types with a prescription.

Many Danes are prescribed NSAIDs for the treatment of painful conditions, fever and inflammation. But the treatment also comes with side effects, including the risk of ulcers and increased blood pressure. A major new study now gathers all research in the area. This shows that arthritis medicine is particularly dangerous for heart patients, and also that older types of arthritis medicine, which have not previously been in focus, also appear to be dangerous for the heart.

“It’s been well-known for a number of years that newer types of NSAIDs – what are known as COX-2 inhibitors, increase the risk of heart attacks. For this reason, a number of these newer types of NSAIDs have been taken off the market again. We can now see that some of the older NSAID types, particularly Diclofenac, are also associated with an increased risk of heart attack and apparently to the same extent as several of the types that were taken off the market,” says Morten Schmidt, MD and PhD from Aarhus University, who is in charge of the research project.

He adds:”This is worrying, because these older types of medicine are frequently used throughout the western world and in many countries available without prescription.” Continue reading

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What About Gin-Soaked Raisins for Arthritis?

Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from pain in their joints, often a result of arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation says there are more than 100 types of arthritis.

I am a sufferer, afflicted with osteoarthritis. It rests in the base of my thumbs and impairs the use of my hands. Buttoning and unbuttoning, turning a key in a lock are immediate sources of stabbing pains in my palms.

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A long time friend of mine told me about the raisin cure. We played in the Pony League together when we were 13 and 14 years old. We are now in our 70’s and both suffer from arthritis. Continue reading

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Some Supplements to Ease Arthritis Pain – WebMD

Regular readers know that I have suffered from severe arthritis in both of my hands. I have tried a number of remedies to ease the pain over the years. Some help to a greater or lesser extent. You can type arthritis into the search box at the right and explore a number of them.

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Here is what WebMD suggests:

Arthritis Pain
“If you have any type of arthritis, you should keep up with the treatments your doctor recommends. If you want to add a supplement, you might consider:

“SAM-e. This is a man-made version of a chemical that your body makes. Early research suggests it may relieve arthritis symptoms as well as some medications do. You can take it in capsule form, 600-1,200 milligrams per day, divided into three doses. SAM-e is also what is called ‘poor man’s prozac.’ You can take it to mellow out if you are stressed. However, I have some much more salubrious suggestions for handling stress in the blog. Search either s t r e s s or relaxation to read them.

“Glucosamine/chondroitin. If your osteoarthritis is moderate or severe, glucosamine and chondroitin may help with pain. But the research is mixed. So ask your doctor if it’s OK for you and, if so, what dosage you should take.

“Boswellia. Studies suggest this tree resin can reduce osteoarthritis pain. It may also help with rheumatoid arthritis. You can take boswellia as a capsule or tablet, up to 900 milligrams per day.

“Capsaicin. Capsaicin, which gives chili peppers their fiery kick, may temporarily ease arthritis pain. It comes in a skin cream, gel, or patch. Apply it three times a day, but stop using it if it irritates your skin.

“Other natural aids. Avocado-soybean oil blend, cat’s claw, fish oil, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and ginger may also help with arthritis pain.”

Although WebMD didn’t mention it, I use mustard seed oil that I bought from Amazon. Just rub it on the afflicted joint liberally. It is also good for reducing swelling.

One last suggestion from me: the holy grail as far as I am concerned is exercise. A doctor suggested I take up knitting for my hand arthritis. I have had friends in similar circumstances who got the same advice. Those Chinese exercise balls work well, too. You need to  use the whole hand to roll them around. The old adage use it or lose it operates here. You need movement in the affected joint for mobility and lubrication.

Good luck!

Tony

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What Can You Learn From a Doctor’s Visit?

I have had to do some doctoring lately and it seems that every time I do I come away with more good info on how my body works and what I can do to fine tune it further.

A few weeks ago I woke up and found a bubble on my elbow about the size of a golf ball. You can read the whole story here. My doctor at the time did some blood work on me to ascertain that my uric acid levels were okay and the bubble was very likely olecranon bursitis and not gout. He told me to buy a bottle of Naproxin Sodium 200 mg tablets and take two pills after breakfast and two again after dinner for the next five days. He said the swelling would probably go down over the next week or so.

Naproxin is an anti-inflammatory and would work to keep the bubble from getting bigger and probably reduce its size.

I followed the doctor’s directions and quit the pills after five days. An interesting thing happened then. The bubble may have gotten a little smaller, or not, in either case, I had no pain from it. What I noticed is that after I stopped taking the Naproxin, the arthritis in my hands started acting up.

I decided to go back to the Naproxin, but to cut the dosage. I took only one pill after breakfast instead of two and no more pills later. I did this for several days and felt a definite reduction in the pain in my hands.

I also decided that maybe I shouldn’t be self medicating like this without a doctor’s directions. So, I called her and explained what I had done. She said to come in so she could examine my elbow again.
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Health Benefits of Pineapple in Arthritis Management and Others

One of the most celebrated uses of pineapple in terms of health is its ability to reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, particularly those associated with arthritis, a truly debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the world.

As a long time arthritis (hands) sufferer, I drink pineapple juice daily. It’s nice to see all the benefits of this tasty fruit.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Enlarge image . . . . .

One of the most celebrated uses of pineapple in terms of health is its ability to reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, particularly those associated with arthritis, a truly debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the world.

Pineapples contain a relatively rare proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which is primarily associated with breaking down complex proteins, but it also has serious anti-inflammatory effects, and has been positively correlated with reducing the signs and symptoms of arthritis in many test subjects.

Read more . . . .

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10 Ways Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits the Body – Infographic

I have used apple cider vinegar in my diet on and off for over 30 years. I currently pour an ounce into my morning smoothie. If it isn’t a part of your diet, here are some reasons that may change your mind.

One caveat: it is very acidic. Be sure to dilute with water or some sweetener. I don’t recommend that you drink it straight.

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How Healthy are Sweet Potatoes? – Infographic

Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Earthing (Grounding) – Part Two

In the nearly a week since I posted A Beginner’s Guide to Earthing – Part One I have learned some new things about Earthing that I wanted to pass on to you. Also, Paul, the blogger who wrote the original post that got me interested in Earthing sent in a most useful comment that I am reproducing here as it is loaded with good resources.

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The Comment:
The website GoingBarefoot.org has much information, including real-life experiences from customers. That website suggests it is the work of Martin Zucker, one of the authors of the book. It also offers a testimonial video. All found by going here: http://www.goingbarefoot.org

One of the items in the earthing sheet kit was a 74-minute, professionally-made film that was fascinating. Guess what! That film is available as a YouTube video. Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgwF0tpioTU

The website of Kroschel Films who made that film is here: http://www.kroschelfilms.com>

Also do a search on YouTube for the series of films by Dr. Mercola under the general heading of The Benefits of Grounding.

Paul’s blog is called Learning from Dogs, a most enjoyable read.
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For the record, I started walking barefooted on five minute breaks from riding my bike in late June. I also took off my shoes to walk the dog on grass, too. Because I realized physical benefits from this practice, I bought the Earthing Starter Kit from Amazon. This kit includes a half sheet for my bed and an earthing mat among other smaller items for $199.99.

What I have learned in the past days of earthing follows:

The arthritis that has plagued my hands for the past 15 years has begun to abate. I hope you non-arthritis sufferers appreciate this. The fact is that arthritis only gets worse. So, this is a major benefit I am reaping from my earthing experience.

I fall asleep quicker, sleep deeper and also sometimes manage to sleep through the entire night instead of having to wake up to empty my bladder.

I had a scraped knee heel completely in something like two days which is about twice as fast as normal.

There have been benefits with my digestion, too.

One last thing I would like to mention is about gardening. Over the years, I have had a number of friends who worked on their garden in the summer. Some planted flowers, some food items. In each instance, I remember the person expressing great satisfaction with the entire experience. I think some of the good feeling may be a result of getting down and digging in the earth. They experienced some positive feelings from earthing even though they (and I) knew nothing about it.

I hope these earthing posts inspire you to try it out. I don’t know any way it can hurt you and it seems very likely that it will help you in a number or ways. I remember years ago when I first started drinking green tea. I was so thrilled at the benefits that I told everyone who would listen to me that they had to try it. A number of my friends and family did try it and I was always surprised at the variety of benefits they realized from it. I think earthing is the same kind of experience.

Please feel free to send in comments on your experiences.

Tony

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Drink Milk? Women Who Do May Delay Knee Osteoarthritis

“Milk consumption plays an important role in bone health,” explains lead author Bing Lu, M.D., Dr.P.H., from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. “Our study is the largest study to investigate the impact of dairy intake in the progression of knee OA.”

As an arthritis sufferer, I have posted about it numerous times: Lifestyle Techniques to Ease Arthritis Pain – Mayo Clinic, Four Ways Exercise Helps With Arthritis – Harvard, How Can I Get Relief From Arthritis in my Hands? Shoulder Arthritis – Causes and Treatment Options, What You Should Know About Arthritis is a Page of Arthritis Links.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

New research reports that women who frequently consume fat-free or low-fat milk may delay the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Findings published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis Care & Research, indicate that women who ate cheese saw an increase in knee OA progression. Yogurt did not impact OA progression in men or women.

OA is a common, degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling of joints in the hand, hips, or knee. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OA affects nearly 27 million Americans age 25 and older, with knee OA being more prevalent and severe in women. While medical evidence points to obesity, joint injury, and repetitive use from some sports as risk factors for incident knee OA, risks associated with OA progression remain unclear.

“Milk consumption plays an important role in bone health,” explains lead author Bing…

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Restless Sleep Tied to Pain in Seniors.

I have written about the importance of sleep a number of times. Now, the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services  through its HealthDay News says,  “Waking up and not feeling rested isn’t just annoying. Researchers say that “non-restorative sleep” is the biggest risk factor for the development of widespread pain in older adults.

Widespread pain that affects different parts of the body — the main characteristic of fibromyalgia — affects 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men over age 50, according to previous studies.

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To identify the triggers of such widespread pain, British researchers compiled demographic data as well as information on the pain and physical and mental health of more than 4,300 adults older than 50. About 2,700 had some pain at the study’s start, but none had widespread pain.

The results, published Feb. 13 in Arthritis & Rheumatology, show that restless sleep as well as anxiety, memory problems and poor health play a role in the development of this type of pain.

Three years after the study began, 19 percent of the participants had new widespread pain, the researchers found.

This new pain in various parts of the body was worse for those who had some pain at the beginning of the study. Of those with some prior pain, 25 percent had new widespread pain. Meanwhile, 8 percent of those with no pain at the start of the study had widespread pain three years later.

“While osteoarthritis is linked to new onset of widespread pain, our findings also found that poor sleep, [memory], and physical and psychological health may increase pain risk,” concluded the study’s leader, Dr. John McBeth, from the arthritis research center at Keele University in Staffordshire, England.

“Combined interventions that treat both site-specific and widespread pain are needed for older adults,” McBeth added in a journal news release.

Increasing age, however, was linked to a lower chance of developing widespread pain. Muscle, bone and nerve pain is more common among older people. Up to 80 percent of people 65 and older experience some form of pain on a daily basis, according to the news release.

To read further on the value of sleep – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep.

Tony

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Lifestyle Techniques to Ease Arthritis Pain – Mayo Clinic

As regular readers know, I suffer from arthritis. Mine is in my hands at the base of each thumb. Because of it, I have difficulty turning a key in a lock, buttoning and unbuttoning clothes and generally using my hands to grasp. So, I am always on the lookout for tips on living with arthritis and dealing with the pain.  More than half of us over age 65 suffer from some variety of osteoarthritis. After age 65 more than 75 percent of arthritis sufferers are women.

“You can relieve much of the discomfort of arthritis by adopting a healthy lifestyle and using simple self-care techniques,” so says the Mayo Clinic in its book The Mayo Clinic on Healthy Aging.

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Following are the guidelines for living with arthritis from the Mayo Clinic:

“Control your weight. Excess weight puts added stress on joints in your back, hips, knees and feet. Excess weight can also make joint replacement surgery more difficult.

“Develop an exercise program. Appropriate exercie helps keep joints flexible and builds muscle strength. Work with your doctor.

“Apply heat, especially before exercising. It will ease your pain, relax painful tense muscles and increase blood flow in the area.

“Apply cold for occasional flareups. Cold may dull the sensation of pain the first day or two. It can also decrease muscle spasms.

“Wear comfortable shoes that properly support your weight. This is especially important if you have arthritis in your weight-bearing joints or back.

 “Maintain good posture. Poor posture causes uneven weight distribution and may strain your ligaments and muscles. Walking can improve your posture.

“Practice relaxation techniques. Hypnosis, guided imagery, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.

“If you’re tired, rest. Prioritize your energy. Arthritis can make  you prone to deep exhaustion.”

I recommend checking out the Mayo Clinic book which has tons of useful information on virtually every aspect of aging.

For further info on arthritis, the following posts may be helpful: How do I get relief from Arthritis in my hands, Shoulder Arthritis, Diet and exercise for knee Arthritis, Four ways exercise helps with Arthritis – Harvard, How to handle Arthritis through natural healing, Oleda Baker on Arthritis and Alcohol, Is it Okay to exercise with Arthritis?

Tony

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