An Introduction to Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in your body. It is present in the articular cartilage of your joints and is a major component of your skin. Articular cartilage is the resilient material which forms a protective coat over the articular surfaces of your bone within a joint. It acts as a shock absorber for your joint. It acts as a cushion between your bones and protects the bones from high impact injuries. Hyaluronic acid is responsible for the resilience of your articular cartilage. With age the articular cartilage undergoes degenerative changes and eventually the cartilage gets worn out. These results in a decrease in joint space and the articular surfaces of your bone come closer together. This process is called as osteoarthritis and is commonly known to affect your knee joints with age. Other joints of your body too can be affected with osteoarthritis. Any joint which bears more weight and is over used is prone to develop changes of osteoarthritis as you age. Hence hyaluronic acid is used as a supplement which can be taken orally or injected into your joint to slow down the degenerative changes of your articular cartilage and prevent osteoarthritis.
Some people believe that use of hyaluronic acid can prevent the effects of ageing and has been referred to as the ‘fountain of youth’. Local application of hyaluronic acid on the skin seems to prevent the changes associated with ageing. It is also used as lip filler in plastic surgery. Some people apply it locally on the skin to promote healing of wounds, burns and skin ulcers. It is also used in eye and corneal transplant surgeries.
Side effects of Hyaluronic acid usage: Day by day, newer and more sophisticated uses of hyaluronic acid are being discovered. The side effects of the hyaluronic acid usage are not known as yet and are still under research. Some of the known Hyaluronic Acid side effects that you might experience are allergic or hypersensitive reactions. This might be seen in a very few people and most people tolerate hyaluronic acid quite well. Some people experience headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, itching or skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, fever, skin swelling, skin staining and dizziness.
When injected, it can cause pain and redness at the site of injection. Following eye surgery some patients may develop high intraocular pressure which means high pressure within the eyeball.
Special precautions one must keep in mind before using Hyaluronic acid: You must consult your doctor before starting ingestion of Hyaluronic acid. If you are pregnant you must not consume it orally as its safety during pregnancy has not been proved yet. Some doctors believe that hyaluronic acid can be given in the injectable form during pregnancy but not orally or in the form on local applications.
Similarly if you are breast feeding you are not advised to consume this supplement. It is not known yet, whether or not after consumption it is secreted in the breast milk and its effects in the infant are unknown.
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