Managing arthritis with herbs and water – Part 1
From time to time, I write on this subject to create awareness and to help people to cope easily with it.
Before I begin to write about management of arthritis, I would like to present the aetiology, signs, symptoms and risk factors of the disease.
Arthritis is a disorder of the joint(s) characterised by inflammation and presents with pain and swelling.
There are several different types of arthritis.
The commonest types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis
Typically, osteoarthritis begins as a dull ache in the affected joint, which increases as time progresses.
The pain is usually more severe after the affected joint has been put into use. The joint may become swollen and tender.
Stiffness of the joint is also a common symptom.
The stiffness is more severe if the joint has been rested for sometime or after waking up from sleep.
Risk factors associated with osteoarthritis
Arthritis is commoner in older individuals than the younger ones.
It is a chronic disease, which takes a long time to manifest. Osteoarthritis seen in younger individuals is usually due to trauma.
Arthritis affects both men and women but it is more frequently seen in women than men. However, before the age of 45 years it is more often seen in men.
This is an important risk factor in that osteoarthritis tends to affect the weight bearing joints more.
In the case of an obese individual therefore, the knees, hips and spine are more frequently affected.
Injury to the joint or over utilization of a joint
The risk of osteoarthritis increases as a result of a traumatic injury to a joint.
Also a joint that is more frequently used as in sportsmen and women or at work will be more susceptible to osteoarthritis than others.
Wrong alignment of joints
An individual with bowlegs, knocking knees or a dislocated hip may more likely develop arthritis in those affected joints than others that are better aligned.
A history of arthritis in a family may increase the risk of arthritis in members of such a family.
Cause(s) of arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
According to orthodox medicine, the causes of these two conditions are unknown.
The risk factors of osteoarthritis have already been listed above.
Concerning rheumatoid arthritis, genetic and environmental factors have been sited as possible predisposing factors.
Be that as it may, proponents of dehydration as the cause of the chronic degenerative diseases are agreed that it is also the cause of arthritis.
I am convinced this is the truth and as I ask my patients with these conditions to drink more water, I see tremendous improvement in their condition.
Here is a brief account of how this happens
The human body is 75 per cent water (65 per cent in women) and this amount of water is distributed in the intra and extra cellular fluid spaces.
The different compartments of the body (the eyeball, spinal canal, the liver, the joints etc.) have an optimal amount of water allocated to them for their proper functioning.
In this, the joint spaces are not left out. In fact, for the cartilage in the joints to glide frictionlessly against each other, there is an optimum amount of water that should be present there.
Anything below this level will increase the friction and cause the cartilage covering the two bones in the joint to rub against each other.
As this happens the individual will begin to experience a slight ache in the joint.
Dehydration, a condition brought about by not drinking sufficient water, is usually reflected in all the compartments of the body, one way or another.
In a state of dehydration, the body goes into a redistribution mode so as to supply enough water to such organs as the brain, heart, liver, lungs and kidneys. These are the five vital organs of the body that cannot stand dehydration.
In order to survive, water is redirected from the rest of the body, including the joints to those vital organs.
The consequence is that the rest of the body suffers from lack of sufficient water for their functions.
In the case of the joints this is seen as arthritis and it manifests at the point of weakest link or an area suffering from highest regional dehydration.
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