What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s immune response in which the white blood cells and macrophages are set into action when a foreign pathogenic particle invades your body. These responses destroy the invading bacteria and heal the damaged tissues. Inflammation is your body’s defense mechanism and continues even after the bacteria had been destroyed.
With the passage of time, your body’s ability to disarm the inflammation procedure reduces. This makes aging one of the major risk factors of inflammation. Other factors contributing towards the risk of inflammation includes genetic predisposition, pro-inflammatory foods, smoking and high blood pressure.
When the inflammation procedure does not come to a halt, your body’s defense mechanism is set into motion almost like it is under attack by foreign particles. White blood cells flood the immune system as if there always has been an infection.
What Is Joint Inflammation?
Joint inflammation is an injury which affects ligaments or tendons that surrounds a joint. Inflammation has an unfavorable impact on the cartilage pad within a joint which ultimately results in pain and calcification of joints. Joint pain is also known as arthralgia and inflammation of joints is known as arthritis.
A cartilage is placed in between a joint that is found at the end of two meeting bones, which allows normal movement and absorbs waves produced during any sort of motion. However, due to certain factors, the amount of cartilage present gets calcified causing inflexibility and ultimately resulting in joint inflammation.
Types Of Joint Inflammation
There are approximately hundred different types of arthritis resulted from joint inflammation but the most commonly occurring ones are listed below:
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) – This is more commonly found in females as compared to the males. It is signified by inflammation occurring between the spinal bones and the joints between the spine and pelvis.
- Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) – As the name suggests, this long-term disease is a form of arthritis prevalent in children and it results in severe joint pain and swelling.
- Non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis – The presence of bacteria or fungus triggers this type of arthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – This is an auto-immune disease that attacks the body’s own cell resulting in inflammation.
- Osteoarthritis (OA) – This causes inflammation of the bone joints.
- Gout – The accumulation of urate crystal in the joints results in the severe pain and inflammation.
- Septic Arthritis – This type of arthritis occurs when a bacteria or disease-causing particle enters your joint through the blood stream. This set into action the process of inflammation at the sight of infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of Joint Inflammation?
Regardless of the type of joint inflammation you are dealing with, there are some common signs and symptoms that any person with arthralgia (joint pain) may suffer. The common symptoms of all arthritis may include:
- Joint firmness
- Persistent pain around the affected joint
- Decreased mobility of joints due to erosion of cartilage resulting in severe pain when two bones grind together.
Arthritis is an umbrella of various types or forms. Each of these conditions presents different signs and symptoms. Some of the common types of arthritis are summarized below:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) – In this type of arthritis, the symptoms only worsen with the passage of time. Your joints will feel tender and painful upon applying pressure. The stiffness seems to be aggravated after waking up as the fluid builds up in your joints all night. After a while, you will find it extremely painful to move the joint and eventually your joint will lose its flexibility. In severe cases, hard lumps or bone spurs also appear around the affected joint. Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the joints of your hands, spinal cord, hip and knees.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – The symptoms develop slowly but occur for a longer period of time. The fingers, arm, leg and wrist are the common site of inflammation. Symptoms are usually worse during morning after prolong sleeping and the joint stiffness can last for more than 30 minutes. Most RA patients have a common symptom of weight loss. In the initial stages, smaller joints are more affected. As the arthritis progresses, it moves from smaller joints of fingers or wrist to other joints of the hands and legs.
- Non-gonococcal Bacterial Arthritis – It is characterized by fever, swelling and joint inflammation. It is usually a consequence of some other infection. It causes stiffness of joint and difficulty in movement. It only affects a single joint.
- Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) – The disease causes intermittent fever which rises in the evening and lowers later. Anemia is a major symptom of this disease. Children usually complain about having a stiff neck or hip.
What Causes Joint Inflammation?
- Pro-Inflammatory Foods – They are the foods which initiate and speed up inflammation in your body. It may be considered as the most influential factor in promoting body inflammation and ultimately leading to arthritis. Example of pro-inflammatory food includes sugar, meat and alcohol.
- Hereditary – Small genetic changes or strong hereditary factor also increases the risk of having joint inflammation. However, strong evidences are not reported to support this fact.
- Age Factor – At the onset of aging, body’s immune system weakens and the pro-inflammatory foods also accelerate aging. Thus, the quantity of cartilage cushioning your joints decreases. In addition, the body’s self-repair tendency also gets affected due to which joints is experiencing inflammation.
- Body Weight – People with heavy body weights are more prone to joint-related problems due to high pressure exerted over the joints.
- Trauma Or Injury – Joint damage can cause further irregularities and can ultimately lead to joint pain and further complications.
- Infection – People who suffer any injury may experience joint inflammation. For instance, non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis is caused due to bacterial infection.
Treatment For Joint Inflammation
- Physical Exercises – Researches have highlighted an important feature that proper exercising of the affected joints play an important role in long-term joint pain relief. Individuals with joint inflammation can also opt for physical therapies which help them to improve muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. Occupational therapies provide assistance with activities as well as equipments.
- Medications – Several types of medicines are devised for joint inflammation treatment. Treatment begins with medicines having small side effects and in extreme cases usually involves non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs.
10 Foods That Cause Joint Inflammation
According to statistics from World Health Organization (WHO), 12.9 million people died in 2004 due to cardiovascular diseases. Heart diseases are ultimately associated to chronic inflammation which is found to be one of the leading causes of death among developed countries.
Researchers have proved that a balance diet can help reduce the chances of inflammation. Basically it depends on the quantity of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods that we are adding to our daily diet. Every bite we take signifies whether we are leading a balanced life or we are dropping the balance to one end. Below are listed some of the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods which will help us to shift the balance in our favor.
- Sugars – Sugars whether brown, white or cane sugar is equally harmful as they help in provoking inflammation. Diet high in refined sugars decreases immunity and ultimately promotes inflammation.
- Cooking Oil – Cooking oils include sunflower oil or canola oil composed of high concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids which cause inflammation. This ultimately leads to angina pain and myocardial infarction (heart attack). Replacing unhealthy oil with extra virgin olive oil and limiting its consumptions to small quantities daily can restrict heart diseases.
- Fats – Fats are saturated fatty acids which raise the amount of bad cholesterol in our body. They also increase inflammation and promote obesity, thus opening ways to degenerative diseases. Replacing these trans fats with small amount of oil to reduce the inflammatory action of body will prove to be beneficial for your health. These trans fats are mainly found in deep fried food.
- Meat – Meat, whether it is beef or mutton has high amount of cholesterol. A diet that is rich with omega-6 fatty acid but low in anti-inflammatory fatty acid promotes inflammation. Comparatively beef has higher concentration of cholesterol. Therefore having a small portion of meat or not having it at all helps in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Beef can be replaced by fish or chicken which is a high energy and healthy alternative.
- Dairy – Milk and other dairy products are rich in protein and contain small quantity of allergens which may increase hypersensitivity and cause inflammation in some people. Researchers have highlighted that 60% of world population is unable to digest milk. Furthermore milk can be replaced by yogurt which has less lactic acid in it and is a healthy option for hypersensitive people.
- Nightshade Family – It is the biological term for potato, tomato, brinjal, peppers and egg plant. They have been linked to all allergic reactions occurring to hypersensitive individuals causing joint pain, stiffness and inflammation.
- Alcohol – Alcohol irritates the inner lining of stomach and affects the liver. A high consumption leads to calorie intake disrupting the sugar balance in body. Alcohol consumption at best should be eliminated or at least consumed in moderate quantities.
- Food Additives And Preservatives – Additives like MSG (Monosodium glutamate), aspartame and colored dyes add a lot to body’s inflammatory response especially to those individuals who are already suffering from an inflammatory disease such as arthritis. Omitting these from your diet can help to reduce inflammatory action in your body.
- Flour And Rice – Refined grains like flour, rice are low fiber diet which is commonly found in our every day meals. This provokes individual’s inflammatory response and should be avoided. Instead, you should opt for less processed grains.
- Synthetic Sweeteners – Sugar itself is harmful but adding sweetener is a disaster. Researches link these sweeteners to some harmful diseases along with its ability to induce high inflammatory action in your body.
What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
Foods that inhibit harmful body inflammation and are having enormous health benefits are called anti-inflammatory foods.
- Kelp – It contains minerals which are essential for normal thyroid functioning.
- Turmeric And Ginger – They are anti-inflammatory in function and reduce swelling around joints and muscles.
- Green Tea – Green tea is enriched with flavanoids which are anti-inflammatory in function.
- Papaya – It contains an enzyme papain which is helpful in digestion. Besides, it contains vitamin C which has its efficient response in reducing body inflammation.
Mentioned above were some of the pro-inflammatory foods that must be eliminated or at least reduced from our diet by opting for alternate anti-inflammatory foods. For more information, do consult a nutritionist or your doctor especially if you are experiencing some form of joint disorders due to inflammation. Ultimately, a balanced and healthy diet consisting of anti-inflammatory foods is the best natural option that helps in relieving joint inflammation and pain.