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Drinking milk could prevent arthritis in women

arthritisDrinking low-fat or skim milk could slow the progression of knee arthritis, according to a recent study published in Arthritis Care & Research, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). While cow milk certainly has its detractors, its role in promoting healthy bone structure has long been established. This latest study provides additional evidence in favor of the beverage, particularly for women at risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee.

A chronic degenerative condition, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Seen most frequently in women over age 50, osteoarthritis causes sustained pain and swelling of the joints due to abnormal deterioration of cartilage and bone. In the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 27 million people suffer from osteoarthritis, and the knee is among the joints most commonly affected. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include advanced age, obesity, prior injury or repetitive use from some types of sports. (Read: 9 super foods to fight arthritis)

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Dr. Bing Lu, together with a team of researchers at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, sought to investigate a possible link between dairy intake and the progression of the disease. The study looked at a sample population of 888 men and 1,260 women (3,064 knees in total), all between the ages of 45 and 79. Each volunteer reported how often he or she consumed milk, yogurt and cheese, and the researchers measured joint space width (JSW) between the femur and the tibia in the knee. The participants returned for a follow-up every 12 months over a four-year period. (Read: Beat arthritis with these 6 diet tips (Gallery))

'Our findings indicate that women who frequently drink milk may reduce the progression of OA,' said Dr. Bing Lu. Interestingly, the study did not indicate similar benefits from eating cheese or yogurt. (Read: How I reversed my arthritis naturally!)

1. Seafood: Fish like salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. And, omega 3 fatty acids are clinically proven to have an anti-rheumatic action. They help to balance the immune mechanism and reduce inflammation caused due to arthritis.

2. Green cabbage: Cabbage is a vegetable that works wonders for people with arthritis, provided eaten raw. When you cook cabbage, most of its nutrients are lost and you can't benefit much. On the other hand, raw cabbage apart from providing high nutrient value also acts like a blood purifier. It contains a compound called indole that neutralizes a lot of toxins generated during the metabolic processes of our body. Read more health benefits of cabbage.

3. Chilli peppers: The anti-arthritic property of hot pepper is attributed to its active ingredient capsaicin that reduces pain and swelling associated with arthritis. A study showed that about 80 percent of patients suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis benefitted by rubbing a cream containing capsaicin on the sore joints just after 2 weeks.

4. Cherries: Adding bright cherries to your diet is an excellent way to beat arthritis. Cherries contain flavonoids that play an anti-inflammatory role. Flavonoids also help to eliminate free radicals from the system and strengthen the cartilage, joints and tendons. Having just one cup of cherries everyday can significantly reduce uric acid levels and reduce symptoms ofgout and other arthritic conditions. Here are more health benefits of cherries.

Read more about the foods that can prevent arthritis

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a joint disorder that causes the inflammation of one or more joints. Arthritis is not a single disease there are over 100 different forms of arthritis. It is a collective term for different individual illnesses, with different features, treatments, complications, and prognoses. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA), which is mostly related to wear and tear of cartilage (osteoarthritis). Arthritis may also be associated with an overactive immune system causing inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis). Other forms of arthritis are associated with skin conditions (psoriatic arthritis), deposition of uric acid (gout), etc. Almost 50 million people around the world are affected by one form or another.

Though arthritis is commonly associated with old age, it may begin at any age even childhood. Women are affected more than men. Some of the causes of arthritis are hereditary factors, infections (bacterial and viral), lack of joint fluid, autoimmunity, etc. Factors like family history, habits like smoking and drinking, injury from specific activities, etc. increase the risk for osteoarthritis.

Arthritis causes pain and limits the function of the joints. There may be joint swelling, redness, warmth and stiffness. Arthritis may affect the body's internal organs as well. It is diagnosed based on the symptoms, the inflamed joints affected and through blood tests, X-ray findings, MRI scan, CT scan, synovial fluid analysis and/or a urine test. Treatment may include medications, physiotherapy, exercise, weight control and orthopaedic bracing. Eroding forms of arthritis may require joint replacement surgery. Medications are given to reduce inflammation in the joint which decreases pain. (Read: Arthritis Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis, Treatment, Management)

With inputs from AFP

Image source: AFP

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