We’ve discussed inflammation lots of times on this blog. It’s causes, symptoms and impacts. In this post, we’re going to discuss the different types of arthritis, and how turmeric supplements can help with the symptoms.
There are two main types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis and cartilage
Osteoarthritis is the most common of the two – roughly one-third of the British population aged 45 years and over have sought treatment for osteoarthritis. This equates to around 8 million people in the UK alone dealing with stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility and pain in their joints.
Joints are where our bones meet, think of our knees, ankles, wrists, elbows etc. But within these joints, our bones don’t touch each other. Instead, the gaps are filled with a firm, protective material called cartilage. This allows the bones to smoothly slide over each other. Everything is then held together with muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Cartilage is a powerful shock absorber. Imagine cartilage as like a bar of soap. Soap makes it easy to slide on almost any surface, but just like a bar of soap, the more we use it, the more it reduces in size. It’s exactly this type of wear and tear of our cartilage that causes osteoarthritis. It usually affects hips, knees, fingers and feet, but it may occur in other joints as well.
Once the cartilage starts to wear out, the tissues holding the joints together must compensate. This leads to swelling and the formation of ‘osteophytes’, or, small, bony growths, which in turn causes the pain and loss of freedom of movement. Cruelly, this then leads to inflamed joints, a typical symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis usually develops at around 45 years old and is more common in women than men. It can develop in younger people with a family history or a history of joint injuries or problems such as gout.
Being overweight, not exercising enough and having a job that requires repetitive movements of a specific joint are all risk factors for osteoarthritis. As is having a sedentary lifestyle that doesn't regularly put your joints through their full range of motion.