What is the connection between sugar and arthritis?

The connection between sugar and arthritis is complex. Sugar has not been shown to cause arthritis, but consuming too much sugar can worsen the condition of a person who already has it. Also, sugar could make arthritis symptoms worse.

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints of an individual. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage in the joints breaks down, causing the bones to rub together. Another type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the lining of the joints becomes inflamed, causing joint damage. A third type of arthritis is gout, which is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals around the joints. All three types of arthritis cause joint pain and stiffness.

Sugar and arthritis are not directly connected. Consuming too much sugar does not cause symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, but people with arthritis may experience increased pain due to weight gain. Obesity puts more pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, ankles, feet, and hips. This additional stress causes more discomfort and stiffness in the joints, which in turn leads to a more sedentary lifestyle and additional weight gain. Eating large amounts of sugary foods can contribute to weight gain, so sugar intake may indirectly affect symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

There is a special consideration regarding sugar consumption for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to causing weight gain, consuming too much sugar also raises a person's blood glucose level. Rheumatoid arthritis is frequently treated with corticosteroids, which also tend to raise blood glucose levels. As a result, people with rheumatoid arthritis should avoid consuming large amounts of sugar to avoid complications from high blood glucose levels.

The relationship between sugar and arthritis also extends to gout. High sugar intake increases the level of uric acid in the blood, especially if an individual consumes large amounts of fructose. A high level of uric acid can lead to a higher chance of gout attacks, so sugar may indirectly worsen gout symptoms.

Sugar isn't the only food additive that can worsen arthritis symptoms. People who consume too much sodium may also experience increased joint pain. Similar to the tortuous link between sugar and arthritis, sodium indirectly exacerbates arthritis symptoms by raising an individual's blood pressure and increasing water retention, leading to increased swelling and stiffness.

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