©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Osteoarthritis causes joints to become irritated and inflamed.

An estimated 43 million Americans are caught in the grip of some form of arthritis or joint problem. And few of us will make it to a ripe old age without joining the fold. If one of these diseases has a hold on you, read on. While there are no cures, in this article we will examine 40 home remedies that can ease your discomfort and give you more control over your life. Let's get started with some general information about arthritis.

Understanding Arthritis

There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, with a host of causes, according to the Arthritis Foundation in Atlanta. Among the more widely known forms are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus. Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form.

Osteoarthritis is primarily marked by a breakdown and loss of joint cartilage. Cartilage is the tough tissue that separates and cushions the bones in a joint. As cartilage is worn away and the bones begin to rub against each other, the joint becomes irritated. In osteoarthritis, this breakdown of cartilage is accompanied by minimal inflammation, hardening of the bone beneath the cartilage, and bone spurs (growths) around the joints. Most people develop some osteoarthritis as they age.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is not an inevitable aspect of the aging process. For reasons unknown, the synovial membrane, or lining, of a joint becomes inflamed, resulting in pain, swelling, heat, and redness. Symptoms vary from individual to individual. It its mildest form, rheumatoid arthritis causes minor joint discomfort. More often, the inflammation causes painful, stiff, swollen joints, and in prolonged cases, severe joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to cause body-wide symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

In the case of gout, needle-shaped uric acid crystals collect in the joints, due to a fault in the body's ability to metabolize, or process, purines. Purines are naturally occurring chemicals found in certain foods, such as liver, kidney, and anchovies. The disease primarily targets overweight, fairly inactive men over the age of 35.

Lupus, on the other hand, affects many more women than men. It is a condition in which the body's own immune system attacks healthy cells. The symptoms are wide ranging, from joint pain to mouth sores to persistent fatigue.

Fortunately, there are many home remedies for protecting your joints and relieving joint pain. In the next section, we will take a look at some basic methods for alleviating arthritis symptoms.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.