NCTV Episode 32
Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-
- Some interesting facts and figures
- The most common types of arthritis to look out for
- The treatments available for the main types
- How to exercise with arthritis
- The ideal diet to stick to, to help or prevent it
If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-
Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 32 and this one is all about arthritis and what YOU can do to help it.
To define arthritis, in a nutshell, it’s a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.
For those who like a stat, here in the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints.
Contrary to popular belief, arthritis actually affects people of all ages, including children.
Another interesting fact is that there are over 100 different kinds of arthritis and related conditions but the two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
So just to go into those two a little bit more:–
Firstly Osteoarthritis is the most common and affects nearly 9 million people in the UK, most often develops in people in their mid-40s and over, is more common in women and those with a family history of it but can also occur at any age as a result of an injury or be associated with other joint-related conditions, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
Just to go into the anatomy of it a little bit more to help you understand it – Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint making movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder and this can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs called osteophytes. Severe loss of cartilage can then lead to bone rubbing on bone, altering the shape of the joint and forcing the bones out of their normal position and you’ll most commonly see this affecting the hands, spine, knees and hips.
Onto Rheumatoid arthritis now and in the UK, this affects more than 400,000 people. It often starts between 40 and 50 years old and women are 3 times more likely to be affected than men. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. What happens in this case is that the outer covering (or synovium) of the joint is the first place affected. This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape, causing the bone and cartilage to break down. People with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.
Just to mention some of the other types of arthritis and related conditions before moving on:-
Firstly there’s Ankylosing Spondylitis which is a long-term inflammatory condition that mainly affects the bones, muscles and ligaments of the spine, leading to stiffness and joints fusing together. Other problems can include the swelling of tendons, eyes and large joints.
Next, Fibromyalgia which causes pain in the body’s muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Lupus – an autoimmune condition that can affect many different organs and the body’s tissues.
Goat – a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. This can be left in joints (usually affecting the big toe), but can develop in any joint, causing intense pain, redness and swelling.
Psoriatic arthritis – an inflammatory joint condition that can affect people with psoriasis.
Enteropathic arthritis – a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the 2 main types being ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. About 1 in 5 people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis will develop enteropathic arthritis. The most common areas affected are the peripheral joints (in your limbs) and the spine.
Reactive arthritis– this can cause inflammation of the joints, eyes and the tube that urine passes through (urethra). It develops shortly after an infection of the bowel, genital tract or, less frequently, after a throat infection.
Finally, Polymyalgia rheumatica– a condition that almost always affects people over 50 years of age, where the immune system causes muscle pain and stiffness, usually across the shoulders and tops of the legs. It can also cause joint inflammation.
Moving on and whilst there’s no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments and things you can do to help slow it down. With Osteoarthritis, treatments can include lifestyle changes, osteopathy and other complementary therapies, medicines and surgery.
On the whole, mild symptoms can be managed with simple measures including: regular exercise, losing weight if you’re overweight, wearing suitable footwear or using joint supports to reduce the strain. When it comes to exercise, less weight bearing activities such as swimming and cycling are more advisable and you want to aim for around 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week plus strength exercises on two or more days for the major muscle groups.
Posture wise, avoid staying in one position for too long and if you’re at a desk, make sure the chair is the correct height and take regular breaks.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis aims to slow the condition’s progress and minimise joint inflammation to help prevent joint damage and treatments for this include medication, osteopathy again, physiotherapy, podiatry, acupuncture and surgery to name a few things.
As far as nutrition is concerned for arthritis on the whole – avoid any potential problematic foods you feel may be contributing and stick mostly to a balanced Mediterranean-style diet, which is based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. Some people have also found certain supplements such as calcium, vitamin D, fish oils or glucosamine with chondroitin helpful in preventing osteoporosis especially if you’re taking steroids.
So there are a few things you can do, obviously there are more as this is a pretty huge topic but that’s enough to get you started and thanks for listening to this week’s bitesize bit to help your help flourish, see you next time.