There’s actually more then 100 different types of Arthritis. We are not going through all of them today, but looking into the two most common types of Arthritis – Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis: In this condition you wear and tear the cartilage in the joints down. The cartilage in the joints absorb the shock from movements, and in the most critical cases it ends up being bone against bone, which is severely painful.
In the past Osteoarthritis was classified as non inflammatory Arthritis. However modern research has proven that to be a false. Unfortunately a lot of old school doctors who do not keep up with evolution is still saying non inflammatory Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is caused by chronic inflammation in the joints. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body is not fed with enough anti inflammatory compounds to turn the acute inflammation off. Due to the inflammation the cartilage wears down as we use our joints, until there’s nothing or very little left.
Common symptoms of Osteoarthritis can be: deep aching pain, trouble getting dressed or combing your hair, difficulty with gripping things, problems with climbing stairs, stiffness after resting or sleeping, pain during movement, warm or swollen joints and inability to move through a full range og motion.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: on the other hand has always been categorized as inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s own immune system attacks the joints and cause inflammation.
There is however still confusion over why Rheumatoid Arthritis set off. There are those who believe that the immune system gets confused from an infection of virus or bacteria.
What we do know though is that the antibody Anti-Cyclic Citrulinated Peptide (anti-CCP) is present in most patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Along with a number of other blood tests and other diagnostic tools can anti-CCP be used to diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as estimate the severity of the disease.
Researchers has made the discovery that Rheumatoid patients who test positive for anti-CCP, have a common sequence of amino acids called the shared epitope, which is encoded into specific genetic markers – Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA). The HLA is producing proteins that control immune responses. One theory is that the shared epitope could be responsible for creating the anti-CCP antibodies by attaching to these proteins.
So scientists really doesn’t know yet what’s causing Rheumatoid Arthritis. We know that there’s a genetic pre disposition to Rheumatoid Arthritis through anti-CCP and Rheumatoid Factor (RF) but most people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn’t have a family history.
However knowing that in both cases of Arthritis inflammation plays a significant triggering role, then we get back to what I’ve been saying for years – that lifestyle and nutritional choices is a much bigger factor in our health then genetics.
If you hold that thought then let’s take a look at who’s in the highest risk group of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Women is more likely to get Rheumatoid Arthritis then men
Overweight people are more prone to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you smoke, you are more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis and if you do, your symptoms are likely to be more severe
Rheumatoid Arthritis is more likely to appear at 40-60 years of age
If you are exposed to asbestos and Silica you are more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis
All risk factors with the exception of gender, and partly but not solely age, is risk factors that blow chronic inflammation off the charts. Fat cells produce vast numbers of inflammatory compounds like their life depended on it ( and in a way it does) so overweight people are by definition highly inflamed. Smoking elevates inflammation like no other thing you could ever be exposed to, and environmental toxins are also a source of inflammation.
All in all, there’s a puzzle that forms a pretty clear picture – Chronic inflammation is the trigger to both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis – so making sure that your diet is anti inflammatory is not only the best way to prevent arthritis but also the best way to control it, if you already have it.