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JOINTS: Everything you should know about your joints

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GELENKE: Alles was Sie über Ihre Gelenke wissen sollten

Protect your joints & cartilage

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the world. Often accompanied by pain, stiffness, disability and radiographic changes, it is the most common cause of chronic pain in the elderly and the leading cause of disability in everyday life.

It is estimated to affect >40 million people across Europe, with a lifetime risk of 45% for knee osteoarthritis and 25% for hip osteoarthritis. With increased life expectancy and rising obesity levels across Europe, osteoarthritis is expected to be the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020...

What you should know about your joints

A cartilage is a protective, smooth, rubbery connective tissue that cushions the ends of bones in joints and allows joints to move smoothly and easily.

In people with osteoarthritis, the smooth surface of cartilage becomes rough and begins to wear away. As a result, the degeneration of the cartilage causes chronic inflammation, which only serves to further break down the remaining cartilage.

While osteoarthritis can develop in any joint, it often affects the knees, hips, hands, lower back and neck.

The membrane (synovium) produces synovial fluid, a thick fluid responsible for keeping the cartilage healthy and the joints moving smoothly. As osteoarthritis progresses, the synovial fluid becomes less viscous and its lubricating, shock-absorbing and filtering abilities are reduced.

Once the cartilage begins to deteriorate, adjacent bones receive less lubrication from the synovial fluid. After some time, the unprotected bones begin to rub together, causing damage and pain. Further scraping of the bones eventually leads to the development of thick bone spurs (osteophytes), which can give the joint a knobby appearance.

As the bones change shape, the joints become stiffer, less mobile and painful. Fluid can also accumulate in the joint, causing swelling.

The role of aging

The older we get, the more we feel the pain of standing or sitting for long periods of time, climbing stairs and moving around. The body becomes unable to repair the joint tissue in the usual way.

Aging alone does not cause osteoarthritis, but promotes the development of osteoarthritis in conjunction with other risk factors. Two of the most common risk factors for osteoarthritis are age and obesity. As most people age, they lose muscle mass and gain fat mass, which could contribute to the development of osteoarthritis due to changes in joint stress. Osteoarthritis can also develop in younger people after an injury or as a result of another joint disease.

Other factors contributing to cartilage degeneration and joint pain:

Overweight: Being overweight can put stress on weight-bearing bones and joints, especially the knees. Overweight also makes us less likely to be physically active.

Gender
: The disease affects both men and women. Before age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in men than in women. After age 45, it is more prevalent in women than in men until about age 80, when both sexes are equally affected.

Family history: Genetics may increase your risk. Your chances of developing osteoarthritis increase if you have family members who have been diagnosed.

Occupation
: jobs that involve repetitive motions in a particular joint increase the risk. The more rigorous your body is used as part of your job, the more stress it goes through. Construction, cleaning, farm work, retail, workers who use a jackhammer, pianists, and rugby players are examples of jobs that can put stress on the body. When your joints are stressed harder, you tend to age physically faster.

Degenerative joint disease

While no treatment or medication can reverse the damage of osteoarthritis, some can help relieve symptoms and maintain mobility in affected joints. The most commonly used medications are over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. Sometimes the pain can be more severe, in which case stronger medications may be needed.

Corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections can help relieve pain in inflamed joints. However, these injections can cause further damage to the joints, so they are used only as a last resort. Surgery is another option of last resort and is usually reserved when other therapies have not helped or when there is severe damage in a joint.

During an osteotomy, a surgeon removes a small portion of the bone and can reduce the size of the bone spurs. If this does not work, doctors may recommend bone fusion or even joint replacement.


What can you do

A number of strategies can help prevent joint degeneration or relieve symptoms once they become apparent. The main goals of any treatment are to reduce inflammation or swelling and control pain, and to improve mobility and function.

The doctor may recommend:

Exercise: improves circulation, strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, reduces inflammation, maintains mobility and range of motion, prevents weight gain, improves cardiovascular health. Swimming is a great way to support your weight while gently exercising your muscles and joints.

Diet: Dietary changes can help many people with arthritis. You should include as many anti-inflammatory foods in your diet as possible. These foods provide essential fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that support your immune system, reduce pain and help build healthy tissue and bone.

Food supplement: As a final and hollistic treatment method, we recommend our product NEM INTENSE - a natural product made from eggshell membrane, which works better than traditional food supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, collagen, etc. Our product has 3 decisive advantage:

- Reduction of pain in joints 4-7 days[*1-7]
- Reduction of joint stiffness in 4 days[*1]
- Protection of cartilage / cartilage wear[*1]

Find out more about NEM Intense

The essence
Our joints are important, but they don't last forever. By understanding how they can degenerate, you can develop a plan to take care of them.

The real key to living well with the disease is you. Research shows that people with osteoarthritis who participate in their own care experience less pain and make fewer doctor visits. They also enjoy a better quality of life.

Do something good for yourself. Follow the golden rule of joint health: "Keep moving. The more you move, the less stiff you will be."

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