This month, we observe National Arthritis Awareness Month.

I divided this into 2 parts. The first section explains What arthritis is, using our new friend, AI (with an addition from myself), and the second part is an article from I liked this article because it speaks on more of a healthier aspect.

What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a term that refers to a group of conditions that affect the joints and other tissues in the body. Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced mobility in one or more joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, each with different causes and treatments.

Some of the most common types of arthritis are:
– Osteoarthritis (OA): This is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joints. OA can affect any joint, but it is more common in the knees, hips, hands, and spine.

– Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): This is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. RA causes inflammation of the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints. This can lead to joint damage, pain, and deformity.

– Psoriatic arthritis (PsA): This is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. PsA can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as skin and nail changes.

– Gout: This is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, usually in the big toe. Uric acid is a waste product that normally dissolves in the blood and passes out of the body through urine. When uric acid levels are too high, it can form crystals that irritate and inflame the joints.

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, but some factors can increase the risk of developing it. These include:
– Age: The risk of arthritis increases with age, especially for OA.

– Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop RA and OA.

– Genetics: Some types of arthritis run in families, such as RA and PsA.

– Obesity: Excess weight puts more stress on the joints, especially the knees and hips.

– Injury: Trauma or damage to a joint can increase the risk of OA later in life.

– Infection: Some infections can trigger or worsen arthritis, such as Lyme disease or viral hepatitis.

There is no cure for arthritis (according to western medicine practice), but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and prevent further joint damage. These include:
– Medications: Depending on the type of arthritis, different drugs can be used to reduce pain, inflammation, or immune system activity. Some examples are analgesics (such as acetaminophen), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen), corticosteroids (such as prednisone), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) (such as methotrexate), and biologic agents (such as etanercept).

– Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair or replace a damaged joint. Some examples are joint repair (such as arthroscopy), joint replacement (such as arthroplasty), and joint fusion (such as arthrodesis).

– Therapy: Physical therapy can help improve joint function and mobility by strengthening the muscles around the joints and teaching exercises that can reduce pain and stiffness. Occupational therapy can help with daily activities and suggest devices that can make tasks easier.

– Lifestyle changes: Making some changes in diet, exercise, weight management, and stress reduction can also help with arthritis symptoms and overall health. Some examples are eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats; doing low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling; losing excess weight; and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.

– Reiki Energy Healing and other holistic therapies: The holistic healing therapies allows the healing from the root cause, without the aid of toxic pharmaceuticals, allowing natural healing. Therapies include Reiki Energy Healing, Acupuncture, Massage, Chiropractic, Qi Gong, Therapeutic Essential Oils, and a healthier diet.

Arthritis can affect your quality of life and interfere with your daily activities. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can manage your condition and live well with arthritis.

Here’s a rather surprising fact: Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children are suffering with joint pain (or disease). Arthritis Awareness Month helps all of us deal with this commonly misunderstood health issue.

There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis and related diseases. The most common types include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia, and gout.

Take time this May to learn about prevention and medical care — while finding out which foods can help. And perhaps, most importantly, understand that proper self-care can make a big difference.

How To Observe Arthritis Awareness Month
1. Exercise
It’s natural to worry that exercising might make things worse. However, research shows that people can and should exercise when they have osteoarthritis (the most common form).

2. Try a “no-pills” approach
Consider alternatives to drugs (if your doctor approves). These can include gels, creams, and patches. Also — there are portable machines that send electrical current to painful spots via wires attached to electrodes placed on the skin.

3. Live Yes!
The Arthritis Foundation’s “Live Yes! Arthritis Network” can help you tap into a powerful support network. Join their online community to share information. Ask questions and offer advice.

5 Foods To Help Fight Arthritis
1. Tart cherries
They offer powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits — providing joint pain relief, while lowering the risk of flares in those with gout.

2. Colorful vegetables
Think sweet potatoes, carrots, red (or green) peppers and squash. Peppers, especially, are an abundant source of vitamin C, which preserves bone, and may protect cartilage.

3. Seafood
The best? Salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. They can all help decrease inflammation and protect the heart. Look for frozen or canned fish to save money.

4. Walnuts
They’re high in alpha linoleic acid (ALA), a type of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid. Eating walnuts regularly can also lower cholesterol, relax blood vessels, and reduce blood pressure.

5. Garlic
It can help fight pain, inflammation, and cartilage damage. If possible, try for fresh garlic to avoid unwanted preservatives and processing — which could decrease the benefits.

Why Arthritis Awareness Month Is Important
1. Warning signs
Recognizing the symptoms can help you get the right diagnosis. Look out for swelling and stiffness. Remember: Inflamed joints can feel especially stiff first thing in the morning.

2. Short-term relief
Sometimes, applying heat or cold to affected areas is all you need for pain management. You can decide which works best for you. Either way, do it for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

3. Connections
The Arthritis Foundation can help you find and build support for your journey during Arthritis Awareness Month. This includes tips on nationwide events, treatment, and diet.

See you next week!