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Joint Health - Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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More than 7 million adults in the UK (15% of the population) have long term health problems due to arthritis and related conditions. 

Osteoarthritis is usually age related and commonly affects people 50, while the joint inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis frequently occurs much earlier in life.

In people suffering from osteoarthritis, joints gradually lose their cartilage (the smooth, gel-like shock absorbing material) that prevents adjacent bones from touching. Most commonly affected are fingers, knees, hip, neck and spine. The onset is often gradual, marked by mild joint stiffness and pain, especially in the morning and following rest.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disorder in which the cartilage and other tissues in and around the bones become inflamed and damaged. Symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, low fever and joint stiffness, followed several weeks later by red and painful swollen joints (wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, and feet) that may feel warm.

Osteoarthritis may be the result of decades of joint wear and tear, through genetic factors,  excess weight and impairments in the body ability to repair cartilage may also play a role. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the body's own joints and associated tissues - the so called auto immune reaction. In some people this inflammatory condition, which often appears between the ages of 20 and 40, may be a result of genetic predisposition.

Although osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have different causes, there may be many similarities in the supplements used.