Tag Archives: Arthritis

Watch your weight to improve arthritis symptoms

There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are some things you can do to help manage the disease and improve your symptoms.

No cure but you can improve symptoms

One of the most important is to keep a healthy body weight, mainly for protection of your knee joints. Being overweight is a major risk factor for knee osteoarthritis. It increases the risk of OA developing and makes the symptoms worse.

OA happens when cartilage, the tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint, breaks down. There are two main ways for OA to develop. The first is through forces acting upon the joints. The second path is through an increase in inflammation, which leads to an increase in pain. Fat creates and releases chemicals within the body that promote inflammation.

Body weight directly influences both pathways. Being overweight not only increases the load placed on the knee joints which can help to speed up the breakdown of cartilage, it also makes the condition worse.

A new hope for arthritis patients?

A new hope for arthritis patients?

Arthritis and other inflammatory conditions could be helped by new insights into how the body’s immune response is switched off.

A new hope for arthritis patients?

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered how compounds produced by the immune system help to prevent inflammation and damage to healthy tissues. The compounds – called alpha defensins – are part of the body’s first line of defence against infection. They help to stop bacteria and other infectious agents from reproducing.

Alpha defensins are released by immune cells called neutrophils when they die. They are then taken up by other immune cells called macrophages, and prevent them from producing messenger molecules called cytokines, which drive inflammation.

The overall effect is to limit inflammation without compromising the body’s ability to fight infection. The findings could lead to new treatments for chronic inflammatory disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the immune system attacks the joints.