Volume 2 - Issue 3

Greetings,
Welcome to the March 2002 issue of The Arthritis Chronicle. Please pass this along to your friends!

Table of Contents:

  1. Osteoarthritis: Explained Simply
  2. Fighting Osteoarthritis with Glucosamine
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Osteoarthritis: Explained Simply


By J.R. Rogers

Osteoarthritis: Explained Simply
By J.R. Rogers

Cartilage:
The first sign of osteoarthritis is the deterioration of healthy cartilage, therefore, understanding cartilage is crucial to understanding osteoarthritis and how you can effectively ease your osteoarthritis pain. Cartilage is a watery substance that is made up of 65%-80% water. The remaining portion is made up of two other important compounds, collagen and proteoglycans.

Collagen gives the cartilage its shock absorption and elasticity, whereas proteoglycans are larger molecules that give cartilage its ability to stretch and then bounce back when we move, or in other words, respond to our movements. With these ingredients, healthy cartilage is able to be formed in a place in each joint called the cartilage matrix. However, as with all things, collagen and proteoglycans grow old.

So what cleans away old collagen and proteoglycans, and what creates new ones?

Chondrocytes are the main players here. They can be viewed as factories within the body that produce new collagen and proteoglycan molecules and also release enzymes that clean out old and deteriorated molecules.

It is important to remember the four elements of healthy cartilage:

1. collagen 2. proteoglycans 3. chondrocytes 4. water

These four elements work together to ensure cartilage is healthy, smooth, and that you can have pain free movement in your joints.

When Cartilage Goes Bad
When cartilage goes bad, or deteriorates, a painful situation can result. Without healthy cartilage to cushion bones, your bones may rub against each other and cause severe pain.

Under an x-ray, this deteriorated cartilage will look ragged and pockmarked. Without the healthy cartilage, the joint will no longer have smooth contours, making pain-free, fluid movement impossible.

As the joint deteriorates, the synovium (joint lining) can become inflamed, causing additional pain. The joint lining tries to fix this problem by producing more synovial fluid, the slick watery substance that lubricates and nourishes the cartilage. However, often the resulting additional synovial fluid will end up in the joint space, causing swelling.

This is the beginning of osteoarthritis. Without effective treatment, eventually, most of your cartilage will deteriorate and a bone on bone situation will occur, causing the debilitating pain associated with osteoarthritis.

So is it possible to slow the destruction of cartilage, to repair some of the lost cartilage, to improve the joint structure, and significantly reduce the pain??? The answer is yes. While the degree of relief does vary for each osteoarthritis sufferer, there are promising means of relieving arthritis pain and otherwise reducing the effects of osteoarthritis. Please read my next article to learn more about glucosamine, which many studies show reduces arthritis pain and slows the progression of osteoarthritis.

Fighting Osteoarthritis with Glucosamine


By J.R. Rogers

Information on how glucosamine actually works, the science backing glucosamine, and how to select the best glucosamine product...
As I stated in my article "Osteoarthritis Explained" healthy cartilage requires four things. These are:

  1. water for lubrication and nourishment
  2. proteoglycans to attract and hold water
  3. collagen to hold proteoglycans in place
  4. chondrocytes to clean away old proteoglycans and collagen and produce new ones
When any one of these elements is missing, cartilage can deteriorate and osteoarthritis will begin to develop. However, with effective treatment much of this can be prevented and also rehabilitated if you are currently suffering from osteoarthritis.

The Info on Glucosamine
Glucosamine is an amino sugar produced from the shells of shellfish (chitin) and it is a key component of cartilage. Glucosamine works to stimulate joint function and repair. It has been proven effective and beneficial in numerous scientific trials in easing osteoarthritis pain, assisting in the rehabilitation of cartilage, renewing synovial fluid, and repairing joints that have been damaged from osteoarthritis.

Everyone produces a certain amount of glucosamine within their bodies. When you grow older, your body loses the capacity to make enough glucosamine. Having ample glucosamine in your body is essential to producing the nutrients needed to stimulate the production of synovial fluid, the fluid which lubricates your cartilage and keeps your joints healthy. Without enough glucosamine, the cartilage in weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, and hands deteriorates. The cartilage then hardens and forms bone spurs, deformed joints, and limited joint movement. This is how the debilitating disease of osteoarthritis develops.

So How Does Glucosamine Figure Into Healthy Cartilage?
Glucosamine is…

  1. a major building block of proteoglycans
  2. needed to make glycosaminoglycans, proteins that bind water in the cartilage matrix
  3. a source of nutrients for the synthesis of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans
  4. a stimulant to chondrocytes
  5. a key factor in determining how many proteoglycans are produced by the chondrocytes
  6. needed to spur chondrocytes to produce more collagen and proteoglycans
  7. a regulator of cartilage metabolism which helps to keep cartilage from breaking down
In addition, glucosamine has been shown to reduce pain for osteoarthritis sufferers and improve the joint structure.

As you can see, glucosamine is a very important factor in maintaining healthy cartilage and rehabilitating cartilage that has deteriorated. However, glucosamine products can be very different.

When purchasing glucosamine, you must make sure you look for a product which

  1. is high quality - preferably pharmaceutical quality
  2. is a liquid - for quicker and full absorption
  3. contains other beneficial ingredients like chondroitin, boswellin, bromelain, manganese, yucca, etc.
Do remember, that while glucosamine can be very effective in slowing the progressof osteoarthritis, it has been shown to significantly reduce pain in only about 4 out of 5 people, and also that the quality, delivery system, and synergistic ingredients can make a huge difference on whether or not you receive relief.

If you have been putting off buying glucosamine, I would very much encourage you to not wait any longer. And if you've tried glucosamine in capsule form or are currently taking glucosamine in capsule form, I would very much recommend giving a liquid glucosamine product a try.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis


By J.R. Rogers

In this article, I would like to highlight an article we now have in our Arthritis Resource Center. We have recently added an article on rheumatoid arthritis. Here are the first three paragraphs...

What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease causing inflammation and deformity of the joints. Other problems throughout the body (systemic problems) may also develop, including inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis), the development of bumps (called rheumatoid nodules) in various parts of the body, lung disease, blood disorders, and weakening of the bones (osteoporosis).

Description of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The skeletal system of the body is made up of different types of strong, fibrous connective tissue. Bone, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons are all forms of connective tissue that have different compositions and characteristics.

The joints are structures that hold two or more bones together. Some joints (synovial joints) allow for movement between the bones being joined (articulating bones). The simplest synovial joint involves two bones, separated by a slight gap called the joint cavity. The ends of each articular bone are covered by a layer of cartilage. Both articular bones and the joint cavity are surrounded by a tough tissue called the articular capsule. The articular capsule has two components, the fibrous membrane on the outside and the synovial membrane (or synovium) on the inside. The fibrous membrane may include tough bands of tissue called ligaments, which are responsible for providing support to the joints. The synovial membrane has special cells and many tiny blood vessels (capillaries). This membrane produces a supply of synovial fluid that fills the joint cavity, lubricates it, and helps the articular bones move smoothly about the joint.

Arthritis Message Boards


We invite you to participate in our Arthritis Message Board Community. You can learn about arthritis, ask questions, get feedback, make friends, and build a support network of fellow arthritis sufferers. Visit the Arthritis Message Boards today!

8 Tips to Control Arthritic Pain


These past months in The Arthritis Chronicle, I've talked about my Eight Day Arthritis Ecourse that I had written. I had originally intended to give this informational course away free for only one issue, but due to the tremendous response and good word of mouth this course has brought, I have decided to give it away at no charge.

This Arthritis Course is packed with quality information on what you should know before you talk to your doctor, the arthritis diagnosis, treatment options, treatment side effects, glucosamine, tips on proper diets and exercise, weight management, alternative options, and an easy to understand explanation of what exactly arthritis is, how it occurs, and the effect on cartilage including a discussion of chondrocytes, collagen, proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, and synovial fluid.

If you are committed to taking the right steps towards effectively easing arthritis pain and knowing all your options, then this course will be extremely helpful to you.

The course is spread out over an eight day period and a new part of the course is sent each day right to your email inbox.

To begin your Eight-Day Arthritis Ecourse right away, fill in your first name and email in the form below and click "Begin Course!"

Your Name: Your Email:
Please click Begin Course just once.

Once you begin your course above, you will receive one article each day delivered right to your email inbox. The daily topics are:

  1. The Arthritis Diagnosis
  2. Osteoarthritis Explained
  3. Exercise, Diet, and Weight
  4. Cox-II Inhibitors and NSAIDs
  5. So What is Glucosamine?
  6. How to Evaluate Glucosamine Products
  7. Alternative Arthritis Methods
  8. Your New Arthritis Plan
To receive my information-packed arthritis ecourse for FREE, simply fill in the above form and click on begin course. Your first message will come in about five minutes.

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See You Next Month


This concludes the March Issue of The Arthritis Chronicle. Look for the next issue in your inbox on April 1st! Please forward to any friends you know who have arthritis and would be interested.

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Have a great March from the Arthritis Chronicle
See you next month!

Please note:
As readers of this Chronicle are aware, prudent exercise benefits those who suffer from arthritis. Most of the exercise recommendations made here are low impact in nature and designed to assist those who suffer from arthritis. Nonetheless, we always recommend that you consult with your physician before engaging in any type of exercise program.

 

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