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NSAIDs and arthritis

Discover the truth about NSAIDs and Arthritis

What are NSAIDs

nsaids and arthritisThe NSAIDs (this is short for Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs), are pharmaceuticals that are used for treating condition involving inflammation, such as arthritis or heart disease. While you can get some of these NSAIDs and arthritis therapy only through prescription from your doctor, people are most familiar with the over-the-counter non-prescription ones such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

While their primary function is to provide relief from pain, NSAIDs also help to reduce inflammation and also prevent blood from clotting. While the latter function may be beneficial with regard to providing protection for the heart, on the other hand, this means that you might bruise more easily.

How NSAIDs work

NSAIDs’ basic function is to prevent a certain enzyme produced by the body from doing what is supposed to do. This enzyme’s name is cyclooxygenase, or COX for short and it comes in two forms: COX-1 whose job is to protect the lining of the stomach from the acids and chemicals that are secreted during the digestive process, as well as maintain smooth kidney function. The second form COX-2 is produced when the joints are injured triggering inflammation and also pain.

Now, there are two groups of NSAIDs. The first group which consists of the traditional and relatively cheaper NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen etc) work by blocking the action of both forms of COX. Thus, they ease the pain from inflammation but at the expense of causing long term damage to the lining of the stomach, as well as possibly causing kidney failure when consumed for prolonged periods of time.

The second group that are called COX-2 inhibitors because they block the action of just COX-2, they are more expensive and their obvious advantage is that they reduce inflammation while not inflicting undesired side effects on the stomach or kidneys. Their drawback when compared to traditional NAIADS is that they are not as effective with regard to protecting the patient from heart disease. Examples of brand names of COX-2 inhibitors are Celebrex (withdrawn from the market by its manufacturer in 2004), Vioxx (again withdrawn in 2005) and Bextra.

However, clinical evidence on COX-2 has shown that these have their own share of side effects as well like the traditional NSAIDs. These side effects include abdominal pain, nausea and indigestion.

Now, what you should be aware of is that the practice of taking NSAIDs is by no means sufficient on its own to combat the painful symptoms of arthritis. It maybe a temporary solution as prescribed by your doctor, but you should be aware of the fact that prolonged use of these NSAID s can potentially have, as explained above, detrimental effects on your health such as internal bleeding, gastric toxicity or even kidney failure.

What is more, in reference to their effectiveness in terms of actually reversing the damage inflicted by arthritis on the joint cartilage, there is not yet available any conclusive medical evidence in favour of this.

Alternative remedies

So, in view of the above, what we can conclude is that we can all reach for some aspirin when we are experiencing minor pain, but in the long term we should seek out for some natural alternative remedies.

One of these alternatives is the consumption of natural supplements such as green lipped mussel supplements. These, in addition to other health enhancing ingredients, are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids for which there is scientific evidence that they reduce inflammation and promote a healthy balance in the body.

To be better informed as to which brand of  green lipped mussel brand supplement is the best for you, you can visit my green lipped mussel brand comparison page. There, you can have a look at the buying criteria and follow the links to detailed reviews of the leading brands that you can purchase online.

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