16 September 2011

Avoiding Fraudulent Arthritis Cures on the Internet

Posted by Jody under: Men's Health .

The internet introduces a wealth of health information. If you’ve searched the Web for information about arthritis, you’ve likely come across products or therapies that claim to cure its symptoms. Some of the more familiar of these include wearing copper bracelets, taking shark cartilage pills or even eating gin-soaked raisins! How do you separate fact from fiction?

When you’re living with a chronic condition such as arthritis, it can be difficult to resist products that promise to ease the pain and stiffness inherent in this disease. The lure of ‘miracle’ or ‘instant’ cures often leads consumers to purchase products that are not FDA-approved or recommended by health care providers.

In fact, it’s estimated that people with arthritis spend over a billion dollars a year on ‘quick fix’ remedies. The market for these types of ‘cures’ continues to grow, in part because the Web has provided a forum for low-cost advertising reaching a vast audience. Occasionally these products help with some people’s symptoms, but this symptom relief is usually the result of a placebo effect – it works because people believe that it works. Many of the so-called cures won’t do you any harm, but some can be downright dangerous. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you separate fact from fiction:
Remember that you should never abandon your physician-prescribed treatment program in favor of something that is not supported by scientific evidence. If you find an alternative remedy that you’d like to try, be sure to talk with your doctor about possible health consequences first.

Keep in mind that, to date, gout is the only form of arthritis whose symptoms are known to be influenced by diet.

Watch out for words like “miracle,” “guaranteed,” “incredible,” or broad claims about curing all symptoms or all types of arthritis.

Do some background research on the company selling the product. Is it an established company with a history of reputable health care products?

Watch out for products that are available for a “limited time only” or “while supplies last.”

Don’t trust patient testimonials in the product’s advertisements. If possible, talk with friends who have used the product, or seek the opinion of your health care provider.

Remember that nutritional supplements (sometimes called “nutraceuticals”) are not subject to the same rigorous health tests for safety and efficacy that pharmaceutical products undergo.

If you have any doubts about a product’s legitimacy, contact your local Better Business Bureau or FDA office.

As health care information and product advertisement becomes more prevalent and more popular on the Web, the opportunities for fraud also increase. By becoming a smart surfer, you can avoid expensive and possibly harmful mistakes.

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