Tag Archives: Arthritis

Artemisia pontica

Botanical Name : Artemisia pontica
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. pontica
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Roman wormwood or Small absinthe, Green-ginger

Habitat: Artemisia is found mainly in the Northern hemisphere and also parts of southern Africa and South America.

Description:
Artemisia pontica is a perennial shurb with fragrant small green leaves. Artemisia pontica is called “little absinthe” because it is smaller in stature and leaf than the “great absinthe” A. absinthium. It grows as a rhizomatous perennial with erect stems up to 100 centimetres (39 in) tall; the grey foliage is finely divided and aromatic. Flowers are small, yellowish, and appear in loose panicles at stem tips. Stems are not very branched, with fine foliage, downy and silvery green. Flowers are tiny, yellow, on narrow panicles in the summer. It blooms during summer. .

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Constituents: The essential oil contains cineol, camphor, thujone, and borneol among other components. It is said to be less bitter than great absinthe and is the principal flavoring of vermouth. It is commercially cultivated in Spain and Lithuania.

Medicinal Users:
Artemisia pontica is a medicinal plant against colds and as a bitter stomachic. A decoction of the leaves and flowers is used for colds, as a tonic and as an anthelmintic; the leafy top is a bitter stomachic and induces perspiration. It is milder in its properties than common wormwood.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_pontica
http://www.backyardgardener.com/plantname/pda_0ae4.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://www.newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=209

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Psoriatic arthritis

Other Names: Arthritis psoriatica,Arthropathic psoriasis or Psoriatic arthropathy

Definition:
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear.

Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. They can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and can range from relatively mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.

It is a type of inflammatory arthritis that will develop in up to 30 percent of people who have the chronic skin condition psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is classified as a seronegative spondyloarthropathy and therefore occurs more commonly in patients with tissue type HLA-B27.

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No cure for psoriatic arthritis exists, so the focus is on controlling symptoms and preventing damage to the joints. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis may be disabling.

Classification:
There are five main types of psoriatic arthritis:

*Asymmetric: This type affects around 70% of patients and is generally mild. This type does not occur in the same joints on both sides of the body and usually only involves fewer than 3 joints.

*Symmetric: This type accounts for around 25% of cases, and affects joints on both sides of the body simultaneously. This type is most similar to rheumatoid arthritis and is disabling in around 50% of all cases.

*Arthritis mutilans (M07.1): Affects less than 5% of patients and is a severe, deforming and destructive arthritis. This condition can progress over months or years causing severe joint damage. Arthritis mutilans has also been called chronic absorptive arthritis, and may be seen in rheumatoid arthritis as well.

*Spondylitis (M07.2): This type is characterised by stiffness of the spine or neck, but can also affect the hands and feet, in a similar fashion to symmetric arthritis.

*Distal interphalangeal predominant (M07.0): This type of psoriatic arthritis is found in about 5% of patients, and is characterised by inflammation and stiffness in the joints nearest to the ends of the fingers and toes. Nail changes are often marked.

Symptoms:
*Pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints is commonly present.

*Asymmetrical oligoarthritis (70%) (Involvement of the distal interphalangeal joints (DIP) is a characteristic feature).

*Sacroiliitis/spondylitis (40%)

*Symmetrical seronegative arthritis (15%)

*Distal interphalangeal joint arthritis (15%)

*Hand joints involved in psoriasis are proximal interphalangeal (PIP) + distal interphalangeal (DIP) + metacarpophalangeal (MCP) + wrist
Joints that are red or warm to the touch.

*Sausage-like swelling in the fingers or toes, known as dactylitis.

*Pain in and around the feet and ankles, especially tendinitis in the Achilles tendon or plantar fasciitis in the sole of the foot.

*Changes to the nails, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed.

*Pain in the area of the sacrum (the lower back, above the tailbone).

*Along with the above noted pain and inflammation, there is extreme exhaustion that does not go away with adequate rest. The exhaustion may last for days or weeks without abatement. Psoriatic arthritis may remain mild, or may progress to more destructive joint disease. Periods of active disease, or flares, will typically alternate with periods of remission. In severe forms, psoriatic arthritis may progress to arthritis mutilans which on X-ray gives pencil in cup appearance.

*Because prolonged inflammation can lead to joint damage, early diagnosis and treatment to slow or prevent joint damage is recommended.

*Scaly skin lesions are seen over extensor surfaces (scalp, natal cleft and umbilicus).

*The nail changes are pitting, onycholysis, sub–ungual hyperkeratosis and horizontal ridging.

Causes:
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in your joints as well as overproduction of skin cells.

It’s not entirely clear why the immune system turns on healthy tissue, but it seems likely that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. Many people with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Researchers have discovered certain genetic markers that appear to be associated with psoriatic arthritis.

Physical trauma or something in the environment — such as a viral or bacterial infection — may trigger psoriatic arthritis in people with an inherited tendency.

Diagnosis:
There is no definitive test to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may closely resemble other diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. A rheumatologist (a doctor specializing in diseases affecting the joints) may use physical examinations, health history, blood tests and x-rays to accurately diagnose psoriatic arthritis.

Factors that contribute to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis include:

*Psoriasis in the patient, or a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

*A negative test result for Rheumatoid factor, a blood factor associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

*Arthritis symptoms in the distal Interphalangeal articulations of hand (the joints closest to the tips of the fingers). This is not typical of rheumatoid arthritis.

*Ridging or pitting of fingernails or toenails (onycholysis), which is associated with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

*Radiologic images indicating joint change.

*Other symptoms that are more typical of psoriatic arthritis than other forms of arthritis include inflammation in the Achilles tendon (at the back of the heel) or the Plantar fascia (bottom of the feet), and dactylitis (sausage-like swelling of the fingers or toes)

During the exam,the doctor may ask for the following tests:

Imaging tests:

*X-rays. Plain X-rays can help pinpoint changes in the joints that occur in psoriatic arthritis but not in other arthritic conditions.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI utilizes radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce very detailed images of both hard and soft tissues in your body. This type of imaging test may be used to check for problems with the tendons and ligaments in your feet and lower back.
Laboratory tests:

*Rheumatoid factor (RF). RF is an antibody that’s often present in the blood of people with rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s not usually in the blood of people with psoriatic arthritis. For that reason, this test can help your doctor distinguish between the two conditions.

*Joint fluid test. Using a long needle, your doctor can remove a small sample of fluid from one of your affected joints — often the knee. Uric acid crystals in your joint fluid may indicate that you have gout rather than psoriatic arthritis.

Treatments:
The underlying process in psoriatic arthritis is inflammation; therefore, treatments are directed at reducing and controlling inflammation. Milder cases of psoriatic arthitis may be treated with NSAIDS alone; however, there is a trend toward earlier use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or biological response modifiers to prevent irreversible joint destruction.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs:
Typically the medications first prescribed for psoriatic arthritis are NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen followed by more potent NSAIDs like diclofenac, indomethacin, and etodolac. NSAIDs can irritate the stomach and intestine, and long-term use can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. Other potential adverse effects include damage to the kidneys and cardiovascular system.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs:
These are used in persistent symptomatic cases without exacerbation. Rather than just reducing pain and inflammation, this class of drugs helps limit the amount of joint damage that occurs in psoriatic arthritis. Most DMARDs act slowly and may take weeks or even months to take full effect. Drugs such as methotrexate or leflunomide are commonly prescribed; other DMARDS used to treat psoriatic arthritis include cyclosporin, azathioprine, and sulfasalazine. These immunosuppressant drugs can also reduce psoriasis skin symptoms but can lead to liver and kidney problems and an increased risk of serious infection.

Biological response modifiers:
Recently, a new class of therapeutics called biological response modifiers or biologics has been developed using recombinant DNA technology. Biologic medications are derived from living cells cultured in a laboratory. Unlike traditional DMARDS that affect the entire immune system, biologics target specific parts of the immune system. They are given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion.

Biologics prescribed for psoriatic arthritis are TNF-(alfa) inhibitors, including infliximab, etanercept, golimumab, certolizumab pegol and adalimumab, as well as the IL-12/IL-23 inhibitor ustekinumab.

Biologics may increase the risk of minor and serious infections. More rarely, they may be associated with nervous system disorders, blood disorders or certain types of cancer.

Other treatments:
Retinoid etretinate 30mg/day is effective for both arthritis and skin lesions. Photochemotherapy with methoxy psoralen and long wave ultraviolet light (PUVA) are used for severe skin lesions. Doctors may use joint injections with corticosteroids in cases where one joint is severely affected. In psoriatic arthritis patients with severe joint damage orthopedic surgery may be implemented to correct joint destruction, usually with use of a joint replacement. Surgery is effective for pain alleviation, correcting joint disfigurement, and reinforcing joint usefulness and strength.

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Lifestyle and home remedies

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Prognosis:
Seventy percent of people who develop psoriatic arthritis first show signs of psoriasis on the skin, 15 percent develop skin psoriasis and arthritis at the same time, and 15 percent develop skin psoriasis following the onset of psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis can develop in people who have any level severity of psoriatic skin disease from mild to very severe.

Psoriatic arthritis tends to appear about 10 years after the first signs of psoriasis. For the majority of people this is between the ages of 30 and 55, but the disease can also affect children. The onset of psoriatic arthritis symptoms before symptoms of skin psoriasis is more common in children than adults.

More than 80% of patients with psoriatic arthritis will have psoriatic nail lesions characterized by nail pitting, separation of the nail from the underlying nail bed, ridging and cracking, or more extremely, loss of the nail itself (onycholysis).

Men and women are equally affected by this condition. Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is more common among Caucasians than Africans or Asians

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psoriatic_arthritis
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20015006
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/basics/causes/con-20015006
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/basics/definition/CON-20015006

Stinging nettle

Botanical Name :Urtica dioica
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Urtica
Species: U. dioica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names:Stinging nettle, common nettle, Urtica dioica or Nettle

Habitat :Urtica dioica is  native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. They are abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil. In North America it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. It grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, especially in places where annual rainfall is high. In North America the stinging nettle is far less common than in northern Europe[citation needed]. The European subspecies has been introduced into North America as well as South America.

In Europe stinging nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate that a building has been long abandoned. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for stinging nettles.

Description:
Stinging nettle is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow as are the roots. The soft green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds cause a painful sting or paresthesia from which the species derives its common name, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, burn hazel.

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Edible Uses:
Stinging nettle has a flavour similar to spinach and cucumber when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce.  Soaking nettles in water or cooking will remove the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without incidence of stinging. After the stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called “cystoliths”, which can irritate the urinary tract.  In its peak season, stinging nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable.  The young leaves are edible and make a very good pot-herb. The leaves are also dried and may then be used to make a tisane, as can also be done with the nettle’s flowers.

click & see ..>The nettle can be used as a foodstuff, as the purée shown in the  image.

Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as polenta, pesto and purée. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe. In Nepal and the Kumaon & Gargwal region of Northern India, stinging nettle is known as Sisnu, Kandeli and Bicchu-Booti ( in Hindi) respectively. It is also found in abundance in Kashmir. There it is called ‘Soi’. It is a very popular vegetable and cooked with Indian spices.

Nettles are sometimes used in cheese making, for example in the production of Yarg[20] and as a flavouring in varieties of Gouda.

Nettles are used in Albania as part of the dough filling for the byrek. Its name is byrek me hithra. The top baby leaves are selected and simmered, then mixed with other ingredients like herbs, rice, etc before being used as a filling between dough layers.

Competitive eating:
In the UK, an annual Stinging Nettle Eating Championship draws thousands of people to Dorset, where competitors attempt to eat as much of the raw plant as possible. Competitors are given 60 cm (20 in) stalks of the plant, from which they strip the leaves and eat them. Whoever strips and eats the most stinging nettle leaves in a fixed time is the winner. The competition dates back to 1986, when two neighbouring farmers attempted to settle a dispute about which had the worst infestation of nettle.

Drinks:
Nettle leaves are steeped in a concentrated sugar solution so the flavour is extracted into the sugar solution. The leaves are then removed and a source of citric acid (usually lemon juice) is added to help preserve the cordial and add a tart flavour.

Commercially produced cordials are generally quite concentrated and are usually diluted by one part cordial to ten parts water – thus a 0.5 litres (0.11 imp gal; 0.13 US gal) bottle of cordial would be enough for 5.5 litres (1.2 imp gal; 1.5 US gal) diluted. The high concentration of sugar in nettle cordial gives it a long shelf life.

There are also many recipes for alcoholic nettle beer, which is a countryside favourite in the British Isles.

Medicinal Uses:
Allergies * Alopecia * Amenorrhea * Arthritis * Asthma * Bed Wetting/incontinence * Female Hormones * Fibromyalgia * Kidney * Libido * Longevity Tonics * Menorrhagia * Nutrition * Osteoporosis * PMS * Prostate * Rheumatoid_arthritis * Spring Tonics
Properties: * Analgesic * Anodyne * AntiCancer * Astringent * Depurative * Diuretic * Tonic
Parts Used: Leaves, stems, and to a lesser extent root
Constituents:  formic acid, mucilage, ammonia, carbonic acid, water

Stinging nettles are a potent herb with a long history of use. Nettle is one of natures best nutraceuticals, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A,C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use.

The stinging comes from the presence on the bristles of histamine that delivers a stinging burn when the hairs on the leaves and stems are touched. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories (including quercetin), that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergy symptoms.1

Extracts of nettle roots(click & see) are reliable diuretics that encourage excretion of uric acid, but simultaneously discourage nighttime bathroom urges, making this remarkable plant useful for such disparate problems as gout, and the overnight incontinence of benign prostate enlargement and weak and irritated bladder. Frequent use of nettle leaf tea, a cup or more daily, rapidly relieves and helps prevent water retention. Nettle is a superb nourisher of the kidneys and adrenals.

Stinging nettle is an almost ideal herb for those with all types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. The anti-inflammatory substances combined with the rich concentration of the minerals boron, calcium and silicon ease the pain while helping to build strong bones. Drink stinging nettle in teas to reap the most benefits for osteoporosis and the bone loss that is often associated with arthritis. A cup of nettle herbal tea delivers as much calcium and boron, important herbs for bone health, as a whole cup of tincture would.3 While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is necessary evil for most with arthritis, using nettle may help you to decrease the amount you need to take. In a scientific study of patients with acute arthritis, stewed stinging nettle leaves enhanced the anti-inflammatory effects of common arthritis medications. One reason may be that nettles contain large amounts of magnesium which helps to moderate pain response.

Stinging Nettles use a tonic of the female system goes back to the Native American women who used it throughout pregnancy and as a remedy to stop hemorrhaging during childbirth. It is considered one of the best all round women’s tonics. Nettles are a good general tonic of the female reproductive system, excellent for young women just starting their monthly cycle, as well as women entering menopause. Stinging nettle helps to keep testosterone circulating freely and keep you feeling sexually vital, and has been shown effective in treatment of BPH in clincal trials when combined with saw palmetto  4 and for male pattern baldness when combines with saw palmetto and Pygeum 5 Stinging nettle also acts as a tonic to the female system making it a herb that couples can share

Other Uses:

Textiles:
Nettle stems contain a bast fibre that has been traditionally used for the same purposes as linen and is produced by a similar retting process. Unlike cotton, nettles grow easily without pesticides. The fibres are coarser however…>…… click & see….click & see.....click & see .
In recent years a German company has started to produce commercial nettle textiles.
Nettles may be used as a dye-stuff, producing yellow from the roots, or yellowish green from the leaves.

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Gardening:
As well as the potential for encouraging beneficial insects, nettles have a number of other uses in the vegetable garden.

The growth of stinging nettle is an indicator that an area has high fertility (especially phosphorus) and has been disturbed.

Nettles contain a lot of nitrogen and so are used as a compost activator or can be used to make a liquid fertiliser which although somewhat low in phosphate is useful in supplying magnesium, sulphur and iron. They are also one of the few plants that can tolerate, and flourish in, soils rich in poultry droppings.

Recent experiments have shown that nettles are a beneficial weed, having use as a companion plant.

Stinging nettle can be a troubling weed, and mowing can increase plant density. Regular and persistent tilling will greatly reduce its numbers, the use of herbicides such as 2,4-D and Glyphosate, are effective control measures.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail107.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle

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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis(JIA)

Definition:
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, with pain or stiffness. It may be acute or chronic. Acute arthritis is also called septic arthritis and may affect one or more joints.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) (once called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis or JRA) is a type of arthritis that affects children who are under 16 years of age. This is an autoimmune disease that causes joints to swell and become stiff, sometimes hindering a child’s mobility. It can affect any joint, and in some cases it can affect internal organs and eyes as well. Symptoms can come and go, flare-up on occassion, while others have symptoms that never go away.

There are three types of JIA, which are diagnosed according to symptoms and blood tests:-
•Oligoarticular JIA – the most common kind of childhood arthritis, which often starts at the age of two or three. The problem is limited to four joints or fewer, which become swollen and painful. Sometimes the eyes are affected, too. It is also known as pauciarticular arthritis.

•Polyarticular JIA – affects five or more joints. It can start at any age, from a few months onwards, and usually spreads quite quickly from one joint to another. Children often feel generally unwell, sometimes with a fever.

•Systemic onset JIA – affects the whole body, and causes fever and rashes as well as inflamed and painful joints. It usually starts in children under five but can affect children of any age. It used to be called Still’s disease.

About one in 1,000 children has arthritis. In many cases, the inflammation stops in late childhood, but about one-third of children affected have problems that last into their adult life.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis affects somewhere between 8 and 150 of every 100,000 children, depending on the analysis. Of these children, 50 percent have pauciarticular JIA, 40 percent have polyarticular JIA and 10 percent have systemic JIA.

Symptoms:
Symptoms depend on the type of arthritis and joints affected . They could include:
*Pain
*Fever
*Joint Pain
*Knee Pain
*Joint Swelling
*Ankle Pain
*Hip Pain
*Swollen Lymph Nodes
*Elbow Pain
*Wrist Pain
*Limited Range of Motion
*Morning Stiffness
*Migratory Joint Pain
*Hip Stiff
*Back Pain
*Rash
*Chronic pain
*Shoulder Pain
*Foot Pain
*Dry Mouth
*Joint Stiffness
*Eye Pain
*Arm Pain
*Inflamed Joint
*Double-Vision
*Visual Disturbance
*Joint Tenderness
*Enlarged Spleen
*Eye Redness
*Visual Impairment
*Joint Erythema
*Joints Warm
*Blurred vision
*Knee Stiff
*Feels Hot to Touch
*Light Hurts Eyes
*Uneven Limb Lengths

Causes:
So far the actual cause of JIA remains a mystery. However, the disorder is autoimmune   – meaning that the body’s own immune system starts to attack and destroy cells and tissues (particularly in the joints) for no apparent reason. It is believed that the immune system gets provoked by changes in the environment or perhaps there is an error in the gene. Experimental studies have shown that certain viruses that have mutated may be able to trigger JIA. JIA appears to be more common in young girls and the disease is most common in Caucasians.   Associated factors that may worsen or have been linked to rheumatoid arthritis include the following:

*genetic predisposition; it appears that when one family member has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the chances are higher that other family members or
*siblings may also develop arthritis

*females are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than males at all ages

*there is a strong belief that psychological stress may worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, when the emotional stress is under control the arthritis symptoms do not always disappear suggesting that the association is not straightforward

*even though no distinct immune factor has been isolated as a cause of arthritis, there are some experts who believe that the triggering factor may be something like a virus which then disappears from the body after permanent damage is done

*because rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women, there is a belief that perhaps sex hormones may be playing a role in causing or modulating arthritis.

Unfortunately, neither sex hormone deficiency nor replacement has been shown to improve or worsen arthritis.
The cause of JIA, as the word idiopathic suggests, is unknown and currently an area of active research. Current understanding of JIA suggests that it arises in a genetically susceptible individual due to environmental factors.

Diagnosis:
Diagnosis of JIA is difficult because joint pain in children can be from many other causes. There is no single test that can confirm the diagnosis and most physicians use a combination of blood tests, x rays and the clinical presentation to make an initial diagnosis of JIA. The blood tests measure antibodies and the rheumatoid factor. Unfortunately, the rheumatoid factor is not present in all children with JIA. Moreover in most children the blood work is usually normal. X rays are obtained to ensure that the joint pain is not from a fracture, cancer, infection or a congenital abnormality.

In most cases, fluid from the joint is aspirated and analyzed. This test often helps in making a diagnosis of JIA by ruling out other causes of joint pain

Treatment :
The treatment of JIA is best undertaken by an experienced team of health professionals, including pediatric rheumatologists, nurse specialists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists. Many others in the wider health and school communities also have valuable roles to play, such as ophthalmologists, dentists, orthopaedic surgeons, school nurses and teachers, careers advisors and, of course local general practitioners, paediatricians and rheumatologists. It is essential that every effort is made to involve the affected child and their family in disease education and balanced treatment decisions.

The major emphasis of treatment for JIA is to help the child regain normal level of physical and social activities. This is accomplished with the use of physical therapy, pain management strategies and social support.

There have been very beneficial advances in drug treatment over the last 20 years. Most children are treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and intra-articular corticosteroid injections. Methotrexate is a powerful drug which helps suppress joint inflammation in the majority of JIA patients with polyarthritis  (though less useful in systemic arthritis). Newer drugs have been developed recently, such as TNF alpha blockers, such as etanercept.  There is no controlled evidence to support the use of alternative remedies such as specific dietary exclusions, homeopathic treatment or acupuncture. However, an increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids proved to be beneficial in two small studies.

Celecoxib has been found effective in one study.

Other aspects of managing JIA include physical and occupational therapy. Therapists can recommend the best exercise and also make protective equipment. Moreover, the child may require the use of special supports, ambulatory devices or splints to help them ambulate and function normally.

Surgery is only used to treat the most severe cases of JIA. In all cases, surgery is used to remove scars and improve joint function.

Home remedies that may help JIA includes getting regular exercises to increase muscle strength and joint flexibility. Swimming is perhaps the best activity for all children with JIA. Stiffness and swelling can also be reduced with application of cold packs but a nice warm bath or shower can also improve joint mobility

Complications:
JIA is a chronic disorder which if neglected can lead to serious complications. Proper follow up with health professionals can significantly reduce the chance of developing complications.

Eyes can be affected in some types of JIA. The inflamed eyes if left untreated can result in glaucoma, scars, cataracts and even blindness. Often the eye inflammation occurs without symptoms and thus it is important for all children to get regular eye checkups from an eye physician.

Growth retardation is common in children with JIA. Moreover, the medications (corticosteroids) used to treat JIA have potent side effects that can limit growth.

Children who delay treatment or do not participate in physical therapy can often develop joint deformities of the hand and fingers. Over time hand function is lost and almost impossible to recover.

Occupational therapy:
The best approach to treating a child with JIA involves a team of medical professionals including a rheumatologist, occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist, nurse and social worker.

The role of the OT is to help children participate as fully and independently as possible in their daily activities or “occupations”,  by preventing psychological and physical dependency. The aim is to maximize quality of life, and minimize disruption to the child’s and family’s life. OTs work with children, their families and schools, to come up with an individualized plan which is based on the child’s condition, limitations, strengths and goals. This is accomplished by ongoing assessments of a child’s abilities and social functioning. The plan may include the use of a variety of assistive devices, such as splints, that help a person perform tasks. The plan may also involve changes to the home, encouraging use of uninvolved joints, as well as providing the child and their family with support and education about the disease and strategies for managing it.  OT interventions will be changed depending on the progression and remission of JIA, in order to promote age-appropriate self-sufficiency. Early OT involvement is essential.

Self-care:
OTs can provide many strategies to assist children in their dressing routine. Clothes with easy openings and Velcro, as well as devices, such as buttonhooks and zipper pulls can be used. For children who have difficulty bending, a long handled reacher and sock aid is recommended. OTs may also show children how to sit during dressing so less strain is put on their joints.

OTs can help children maintain cleanliness through recommending assistive devices. For children who have trouble reaching all areas of their body, a long handled sponge with a soft grip can be provided. If children find it difficult to sit in a bath or stand in a shower, an OT can prescribe a bath bench or bath seat to be installed to help the child remain in a pain free position. If tooth brushing is challenging, a toothbrush with a larger, soft grip or an electric toothbrush may be recommended. For flossing, a flosser with an adapted handle may be provided.  Long handled hairbrushes may be used by children who have difficulty reaching the back of their head. Razors handles can be adapted for easier grip, or an electric razor may be used for shaving. The OT can also show girls wishing to use make-up, ways of increasing the sizes of the handles of make-up application tools for easier grip.

For children with pain in their hands and wrists, utensils and devices that are lightweight with large handles as well as other devices (such as angled knives, strap-on utensils, jar and bottle openers, turning handles, door knob extensions, etc.) can be provided to make the task easier, less painful and more enjoyable.[32] Tilted glasses can be used for children who have neck stiffness. Education can be provided about good eating habits that help control bone loss caused by inactivity and drug side effects. Occupational therapists provide a myriad of strategies to assist children with JIA in performing self-care tasks.

Leisure:
One of the best ways OTs can help children with JIA participate in activities with their friends is by helping them make their home exercise programs into play. Exercises are prescribed by both physiotherapists and OTs to increase the amount a child can move a joint and strengthen the joint to decrease pain and stiffness and prevent further limitations in their joint movements. OTs can provide children with age appropriate games and activities to allow the children to practice their exercises while playing and socializing with friends. Examples are crafts, swimming and non-competitive sports.

OTs will often prescribe custom made orthotics which are devices that support and correct body position and function. Orthotics help keep the child’s body in good alignment. Orthotics reduce discomfort in the legs and back when the child participates in physical activities such as sports. Splints can be used to support the joints during activity, to reduce the child’s pain and increase participation in their preferred leisure activities. Resting splints may be prescribed for children to wear during the night to reduce swelling and stiffness in joints, allowing children to have less pain and stiffness while participating in play activities.Furthermore, working splints are used to support the joint and relieve pain while working the with hands such as during crafts. A series of casts might be used to gradually extend shortened muscles allowing for increased participation in leisure activities.

OTs can help a child learn how to interact with their classmates and friends by collaboratively brainstorming strategies, role playing and modeling. OTs also help children see what activities they are good at and which ones give them difficulty. Furthermore, OTs can help children learn to communicate their pain to others. Benefits of OT treatment include: improved social interaction, improved self-confidence and a positive self-image. OTs can help children build friendships with other children suffering from similar diseases to help them feel less alone or less different from others. Many OTs run summer camps for children with similar diseases so children can get to know others with their disease. Education sessions on JIA and leisure, and activities such as swimming, canoeing and nature trails are common.

For children who find that cool or damp weather make it hard to play with friends outside, OTs can give ideas for clothing that will keep the child warm and dry without limiting movement. An example of this is biking gloves which allow children to move their fingers while still keeping their hands warm, as opposed to large winter gloves which limit hand function. Warm pajamas and electric blankets can reduce pain and improve sleep.

Prognosis:
With proper therapy, some children do improve with time and lead normal lives. However, severe cases of JIA which are not treated promptly can lead to poor growth and worsening of joint function. In the last two decades, significant improvements have been made in treatment of JIA and most children can lead a decent quality of life. The prognosis of JIA depends on prompt recognition and treatment. Finally, it is important for both the child and family member to be educated about the disorder. The more educated the person, the better the care you can receive. Chronic JIA is no longer the dreaded disease where one remains home bound. Many children with JIA have gone on to play professional sports and have a variety of successful careers

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/arthritis/aboutarthritis_children.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juvenile_idiopathic_arthritis
http://www.healthline.com/channel/juvenile-rheumatoid-arthritis_symptoms
http://www.seattlecca.org/diseases/juvenileidiopathicarthritis-overview.cfm?gclid=CLCm7aSepakCFcO8Kgodl2kxyQ

http://apps.ashland.edu/index.php/File:Arthritic_joints.jpg

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Uvularia perfoliata

Botanical Name : Uvularia perfoliata
Family : Liliaceae
Genus : Uvularia L.
Species : Uvularia perfoliata L.
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Superdivision : Spermatophyta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Liliopsida
Subclass : Liliidae
Order : Liliales
Common Name :Bellwort

Habitat : Uvularia perfoliata is native in United States.

Description:
Uvularia perfoliata is a perennial herb.
The 8″ tall stalks of this East Coast native emerge in early spring adorned with perfoliate (stem runs through the center) green leaves edged with a nice, pure white border. The small, light yellow flowers dangle from the leaf axils. It has taken us nine years to build up enough to share, and quantities are still very limited. As is the case with many native spring ephemerals, Uvularia ‘Jingle Bells‘ goes dormant by midsummer. .

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Orangish or yellow bumps are a good identifying mark for perfoliate bellwort. Large-flowered bellwort has smooth petals.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is used as a poultice or salve in the treatment of boils, wounds and ulcers.  A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of coughs, sore mouths and throats, inflamed gums and snakebites. It is suitable for use by children. An infusion of the crushed roots has been used as a wash to treat sore eyes.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
Uvularia perfoliata Jingle Bells
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/uvulariaperf.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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