Osteoarthritis is a condition that mainly affects people after the age of 40, though it can strike individuals earlier in life. While related conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis also cause fatigue and extreme weight loss, osteoarthritis primarily affects the joints.
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Premature osteoarthritis refers to the condition developing before the age of 40, though symptoms usually occur gradually over time. In rare cases an individual sees symptoms as early as 25 years of age. It usually takes 10 to 15 years from the time of the first symptoms for the disease to become serious and debilitating, though every person is different.
Effects and Symptoms
The disease typically becomes apparent within five years of the first symptoms. Some of the signs include joint effusion, also known as swelling, bony enlargements, cracking, grinding of joints, changes with range of motion, stiffness and pain, though only a doctor can properly diagnose the condition. When osteoarthritis sets in early it can have an emotional effect on an individual, as he may feel as though he is getting old before his time, which can cause depression. Mobility becomes limited as the disease sets in, which could lead to early retirement or even mild disability.
If a person is suffering from the early onset of osteoarthritis there are certain things he should consider to reduce the effects of the disease. Following a sound diet with the right amount of healthy fats, lean meats and vegetables can greatly improve mobility and joint health. Healthy fats and oils reduce inflammation in the body, which can ease the pain caused by osteoarthritis. When you do cook your food, use coconut oil and sprinkle olive oil on your salads. The composition of coconut oil does not change when heated, as other oils do. Eat flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and other nuts that contain omega-3 oils. You can also take 1 tablespoon of cod liver or salmon oil daily as a supplement to your diet. Just like greasing a squeaky wheel, omega-3 fatty acids lubricate the joints, which provides more mobility.
Osteoarthritis forms as joints weaken and cartilage wears away. When people develop this joint condition at an early age it is usually due to past sports injuries, overuse, poor diet, calcium deposits or heredity. Consequently, these individuals have special nutritional needs. Anyone taking medication should be sure to talk to their doctor before starting a new diet program.
People with premature osteoarthritis can eat fruit, but they should avoid highly acidic varieties, because when fruit is consumed as a drink without the fibre, blood glucose levels rise, resulting in a negative immune response and inflammation. If you suffer from osteoarthritis you should choose whole fruits, because the fibre will balance out the sugars. In addition, limit your consumption of citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit. Instead, opt for lemons, limes and strawberries, which are all converted to alkaline inside the body, and eat as many of these as you'd like. Bananas are also a wonderful mineral-rich, alkaline fruit. If you are concerned about getting enough vitamin C, remember that you can get plenty from vegetables. For example, one green pepper contains more vitamin C than five oranges. You can also take a whole food multivitamin and mineral supplement, as well as other joint supplements for additional insurance. Healthy foods such as vegetables contain antioxidants that fight free-radical damage, which is important because free radicals attack joints and other tissues in the body. Over time the damage can become so severe that you lose mobility. Vitamin-rich foods neutralise the majority of free radicals in the body, which reduces long-term damage.
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