HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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“You start getting aches, pains, weakness in the joints and have functional limitations such as mobility and walking.” Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lungs and heart and can cause fatigue, pain and joint deformity. If your joints are red or swollen, you should see your doctor to get medication that can stop the damage. “Rheumatoid arthritis can be progressive if not treated promptly,” O’Koon said.


The earlier you detect arthritis, the better you can do. “Osteoarthritis is diagnosed clinically by [observing] symptoms, a joint examination and imaging, like an X-ray or MRI,” O’Koon said. “If something autoimmune or inflammatory is suspected, there would be blood tests that look for certain markers or signs of inflammation.”


Self-management of arthritis includes physical activity. “People think you should be still, protect your joints and not move them because they hurt, but that will create stiffness and more pain,” O’Koon said.


The key is to find ways to move gently and gradually increase your level of activity.


“Working on self-management and physical activity are super important,” O’Koon

You probably know someone who is affected by arthritis. It may even be you.


“There are almost 56 million people, or more than one in five, who have arthritis,” said Marcy O’Koon, senior director in consumer health at the Arthritis Foundation.


Arthritis is a serious disease that requires management because it can become debilitating. There are many kinds of arthritis.


“Arthritis is a general or umbrella term for diseases that affect the joints,” O’Koon said. “It commonly affects the knees, finger joints, hips, back, ankles and shoulders – and it is not just an old person’s disease.”


The most common type is osteoarthritis, often thought of as the wear-and-tear form of arthritis. Many people believe it starts to appear around age 50 years, but people get it in their 20s and 30s as well, especially after a traumatic incident, such as a sports injury or a car accident that affects the joints.


A less common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that involves inflammation. “Rheumatoid arthritis is systemic, which means it affects more than the joints,” O’Koon said.

ARTHRITIS: SERIOUS DISEASE AFFECTS ONE IN FIVE PEOPLE

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Jamie Lober

said. “Balance activity and rest. Do not overschedule yourself and make sure you stop and take breaks.”


Protect your joints by not stressing them. “If you carry grocery bags by your fingers and have arthritis in your hands, it can bring on pain, so instead hold the bags with your arms up by your body,” O’Koon said.


Get involved with your care. Studies show people who work with their doctor on self-management and get evaluated regularly to see if medications are working properly do better in the long run. The conventional options for treatment are chemicals that can be taken individually or in combination.


“The biggest change came in 1998 when biologics were discovered for rheumatoid arthritis,” O’Koon said. Biologics are made from living organisms. They are injected or infused and work well if you do not respond to other medications. “It was a game changer that made a huge difference in people who do not respond to the conventional DMARDS, which are disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs,” said O’Koon. If you have progressive arthritis, joint replacement may be required.


There is promise on the horizon for people affected by arthritis. “There are really exciting things like disease-modifying drugs, and cartilage restoration will be here soon,” O’Koon said. “For rheumatoid arthritis, one of the most interesting opportunities is to better target the medications. There are a lot of great resources and things to help people get physically active, understand their disease and get medications they may need.”


By staying on top of things and working as a partner with your healthcare provider, you can lead a relatively normal life with arthritis.