KRUK! KRAK! KRUK!
These sounds are made by joints of those affected by osteoarthritis (OA) when they move, walk or climb up the staircase. It is caused by the loss of cartilage between the joints.
Those affected often suffer with chronic pain as the OA progress to severe stages. To manage the pain, medical practitioners often prescribe oral medications as:
- Glucosamine & Chondroitin
However, taking these medications do come with side effects such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, gastro intolerance, cardiovascular events and effect on glucose metabolism. 1
Besides OA, there is another form of arthritis which is quite common in Malaysia- Gout. This condition is caused by elevated serum uric acid (sUA). Unlike OA, gout pain often attacks during night and causes painful swelling near toe.
If you walk in to a clinic with gout flare, most likely you will be given:
This is to ease the pain and the patient will be advised to come again for follow-ups. This time, the patients will be prescribed urate-lowering therapy (ULT). Common ULT used in Malaysia are allopurinol and probenecid. 1,2Common side effect that come with ULT will be hypersensitivity reactions.
This two arthritis affect a person’s quality of life because restricted mobility, extreme pain, treatments and medications. Although pain-relieving medications are readily available, it does come with side effects as mentioned above. It is a concern for those whom already on chronic diseases as diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and heart complications because drug-to-drug interaction might lead to serious adverse events.
Hence, those in the risk factor group must start with lifestyle modifications. There are also available alternative options for managing OA and gout. One of the alternative treatments suggested for OA is acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is a traditional treatment where fine needles will be inserted at strategic points in the body.
Another interesting herb suggested for OA is turmeric. Turmeric contains curcumin which is the active known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Raw turmeric has low bio-availability. Arjuna’s Curcugreen® is a patented turmeric extract which is proven to have 700% more bio-availability than raw turmeric. This extract is proven to have benefits on joint health and in managing pain in OA.
For gout, Arthritis Foundation suggests on applying ice packs on affected area to ease pain and inflammation upon gout flare.
One of the fruits than has uric acid lowering property is Montmorency cherries or commonly known as tart cherry or sour cherry. This cherry has potent antioxidant content compared to sweet cherries. According to MOH guideline in gout management3, consuming cherry extract reduce gout flare by 45%.
In conclusion, healthy joints are crucial despite age, gender and comorbidity factors. Ensuring healthy and balanced lifestyle can prevent or at least slow down the disease progress. It is beneficial to keep track on new findings in the medical world and have alternate options to manage arthritis.
- Management of Osteoarthritis 2nd Edition (2013). URL: https://www.moh.gov.my/moh/attachments/8933.pdf
- Qin Jian Low et. (2022). Management of gout in primary care settings. Malaysian Family Physician 17(1). https://doi.org/10.51866/rv1165
- Management of Gout 2nd Edition (2021). URL: https://www.moh.gov.my/moh/resources/Main%20Banner/2021/Okt/Draft_CPG_Management_of_Gout_(Second_Edition)_for_Reviewers.pdf