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Between 20 and 40 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, a condition in which the normally spongy cartilage between bones deteriorates so that bones rub together, causing stiffness, debilitating pain, fluid in the joints and inflammation. This paper will look at two new over-the-counter supplements, glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate, which are being used to treat different forms of arthritis.

In healthy joints, cartilage makes a slippery, lubricating cushion between bones that allows for easy movement (Fraser 46). Injuries, overuse, or age can wear cartilage down, leaving bone grinding against bone. Half of all people over 65 have this version of arthritis known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a wearing away of joint cartilage and a thickening of the lubricant-containing synovial tissues which insulate contact of bone and joint cavities, leading to movement becoming increasingly difficult and painful (Scheer 32). Scientists believe that osteoarthritis results from an abnormal release from the cartilage cells of destructive enzymes which cause the breakdown of cartilage, according to the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter ("Is There" 1). Sufferers may also be born with defective cartilage or slight defects in the way that joints fit together. They add that osteoarthritis commonly affects the hands and weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips, feet, and back. It can happen to anyone who puts their limbs through unusual movements and stress. It occurs primarily in people who are obese, frequently participate in contact sports, mail deliverers, weight lifters, and people who lift heavy articles continuously in their daily work, such as stevedores (Scheer 32).

The conventional treatment for osteoarthritis is the use of pain killers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. These medications can alleviate the symptoms, but do not cure the disease and may have serious side effects such as ...

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Osteoarthritis. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:46, April 26, 2019, from