Doctors on call: What is arthritis?


Doctors On Call s is a brand new weekly health column. The primary objective of this column is to provide you with healthcare advice and treatment options for a broad spectrum of conditions.

This week’s topic of arthritis affects all of us at some point in our lives. We will discuss a condition and how to best manage it.

Your job as a reader is to provide input and suggestions. This is intended to be as interactive as possible. You will be able to ask specific questions about future topics and we will provide an easy-to-understand solution.

Remember this is not designed to replace valuable medical advice; it is intended to direct you properly to get the correct care needed.

In this week’s article, I will provide questions that are common in clinical practice and answer them. In the future, we will rely on your online comments and email suggestions. I look forward to interacting with you and guiding you in the right direction.

“I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, what is it?” Let’s break down the word. Osteo means bone, arth means joint, and itis means inflammation. When we combine them, we have inflammation of the joints.

Inflammation of the joints can be caused by almost anything. The most common causes of osteoarthritis include accidents, injuries and repetitive stress not treated properly over time. Repetitive stress can be anything from sitting, standing, twisting, bending and lifting objects.

“How do I treat osteoarthritis?” The most common form of treatment includes pain medication(s). These medications can be either over the counter or prescription.

Please exercise extreme caution however because pain medications have the ability to damage vital organs such as your kidneys and liver. You can also become dependent and addicted to the medication.

“Does the medication get to the underlying problem?” The medication does not have the ability to alter past injuries and repetitive stresses.

The medication is designed to give temporary relief, while you change aggravating factors in your life. These factors can include your diet, fitness levels and daily stresses.

“I am getting old, I should have arthritis”. As a doctor, I disagree. Arthritis is long-term, chronic, degenerative condition that affects us more and more over time. If you have arthritis, it has been developing for many years.

If you have been relying on medications, not correcting underlying and aggravating factors, you have allowed it to get worse. It is time to understand that you can take corrective steps, regardless of the level of your osteoarthritis.

“Is osteoporosis the same as osteoarthritis?” Osteoporosis is when the bone density diminishes. Bone density commonly reduces with age.

Osteoporosis is not the same as osteoarthritis, but it is commonly linked together in individuals. A person experiencing osteoarthritis is usually in a lot of pain, which reduces physical activity and exercise levels to almost zero.

Osteoporosis then develops due to lack of movement. Bone strength is directly proportional to the amount of stress you apply to them.

Are there dietary factors that influence osteoarthritis?
“My doctor told me that there are no dietary factors to improve my osteoarthritis.”

If you have osteoarthritis because of accidents and injuries, does your diet play a role? It definitely cannot change the past, but your diet does play a role in slowing down the degenerative process and damage.

Yes, changing your diet will improve the condition.
“I’ve had a doctor tell me that it is associated with the amount of sugar I eat.”

The amount of sugar in your diet does not correct car accidents and injuries. Sugar does affect metabolic processes in your body such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and most notably systemic inflammation.

This inflammation contributes to the “itis” in osteoarthritis. It is an accurate recommendation to reduce sugar consumption.

“My doctor told me that it is the amount of meat that I consume.”

The amount of meat that you consume does play a role in production of inflammation, which again contributes to osteoarthritis and pain.

The quantity of meat consumed should be proportional to the amount of vegetables you consume. Vegetables are very effective at reducing inflammation. Healthy, lean meats eaten with fresh vegetables will reduce the amount of pain one has with osteoarthritis.

Next week’s column will focus on heart health. Heart health is a very important topic and it affects a large percentage of the population. Heart health will include questions regarding high blood pressure and cholesterol.

To prepare the column in advance, I request that you email your questions. I will select five of the most common questions and address them in next week’s column. After the article is published, we will be able to discuss the question and answers online.

If you have any health questions, send your mail to