HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO GIVE YOU YOUR DOSE OF MEDICAL INPIRATION FOR THE DAY. OUR TOPIC IS Osteoarthritis- - SO LETS GET STARTED SHALL WE
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is seen especially among older people. Healthcare professionals may also refer to it as DJD, degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis as well.
People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and some movement limitations. As you are aware, there are other types of arthritis as well like rheumatoid arthritis. But unlike the other types, osteoarthritis affects only the joints. Other parts of the body like the eyes, skin, lungs and blood vessels are NOT affected.
As I said, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases an estimated 27 million Americans age 25 and older have osteoarthritis. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention osteoarthritis accounts for 55% of all arthritis-related hospitalizations.
The incidence increases with age. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases says that by 2030, 20 percent of Americans – or about 72 million people - will have passed their 65th birthday and will be at high risk for the disease. The risk is high in men before 45 years of age and in women after 45 years of age. Though you might be thinking that this is a disease that is common in older people, it can also affect people who are younger especially those who have a previous joint injury, a joint malformation, or a genetic defect in joint cartilage. You are at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis if you are obese or if you do work that puts undue stress on your joints.
If you become affected by osteoarthritis you will have symptoms like joint pain and stiffness. It usually affects weight-bearing joints like your knee joints. But it is not limited to these joints alone and it may affect other joints as well including those of the hands, spine and hips.
A joint is a point where two or more bones are connected. Except for the skull and pelvis, joints are meant for movement and to prevent shock during movement. A special tissue called cartilage carries out this second function. Cartilage is a very smooth structure that lines the joint spaces and functions as a shock absorber. As part of aging and when excess stress is placed on particular joints, the cartilage may undergo degeneration. A degenerated cartilage makes the joint surface rough and this causes pain in the joints during movement. The joints may also become stiff. If you are obese, this degenerative process occurs at a faster rate.
Once the degenerative process sets in, new bone formation occurs along the sides of the joint. These new bones, which project in to the joint space, are called spurs. During the process of wear and tear on the joint, the lining of your joint starts to secrete more joint fluid and this excess fluid will then accumulate. When this happens, your joints become painful, stiff and also swollen.
I am Doctor Sugar and I want to invite you to join me for part 2 of my blog series on Understanding Osteoarthritis. In the next section, I will discuss what may happen when you visit your doctor and some of the tests for osteoarthritis. Make sure to check it out. I’ll see you there!!
Osteoarthritis part 2 HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO continue our discussion on Osteoarthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on what may happen when you visit your doctor and what tests can be done to diagnose osteoarthritis. - - so if you are ready, let’s get started with a dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION.
If you have osteoarthritis you may have symptoms like joint pain, stiffness and a swollen joint. I explained in detail about how these occur. In addition to these symptoms, you may also have a crunching feeling in the joint space. If your knee joint is affected, just place your palm over the joint and move your leg back and forth. You will feel the sound of the rough irregular surfaces of the joint rubbing against each other. This is called crepitus. This is one sign of osteoarthritis which you can do yourself at home.
So you are having pain in your joints and maybe a joint that is swollen - so you decide to go and visit your family doctor. What happens next? Well your doctor will ask for the symptoms, he or she will examine your joints and check for crepitus - that crunchy feeling in the joints, which can be a sign of osteoarthritis.
He or she may use other methods as well to diagnose osteoarthritis. They may take an x-ray of the joint that is affected with osteoarthritis. The x-ray may show degenerated joint spaces and spurs. But x-rays are useful only when adequate damage has occurred. It is far less useful during the early course of the disease.
In these circumstances a MRI scan might be helpful. Magnetic resonance imaging provides high-resolution computerized images of internal body tissues. This procedure uses a strong magnet that passes a force through the body to create these images. Doctors often use MRI tests in cases where there is pain and the x-ray findings are minimal. Especially if the physical exam findings suggest damage to other joint tissues such as a ligament or to the pad of connective tissue in the knee - - called the meniscus. If the diagnosis is doubtful, then your doctor may aspirate the joint fluid and test them for other causes of joint pain.
One important point you should remember is that, the affected joints in osteoarthritis never become red or tender. Remember that osteoarthritis is not an inflammatory disease so therefore any signs of inflammation like redness and tenderness are absent. If you notice any of these in the affected joints, then you have to consult your doctor who will look for other causes of arthritis.
I am Doctor Sugar and I want to invite you to join me for part 3 of my blog series on Understanding Osteoarthritis. In the next section, I will discuss the different treatment and alternatives for Osteoarthritis. Make sure to check it out. I’ll see you there!!
Osteoarthritis part 3 HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO continue our discussion on Osteoarthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on treatment and what you can expect. - - so if you are ready, let’s get started with a dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, the treatment is not limited to just relief from joint pain. There are a few other goals we would like to achieve. In addition to relieving joint pain, your doctor may take steps to improve your joint function, may provide instructions on maintaining appropriate weight and also suggest steps towards adopting a healthier life style.
Research shows that exercise is one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis. Exercise can improve mood and outlook, decrease pain, increase flexibility, strengthen the heart and improve blood flow, maintain weight, and promote general physical fitness.
Exercise is also inexpensive and, if done correctly, has few negative side effects. The amount and form of exercise prescribed will depend on which joints are involved, how stable the joints are, and whether a joint replacement has already been done. Walking, swimming, and water aerobics are a few popular types of exercise for people with osteoarthritis. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend specific types of exercise depending on your particular situation.
If you are obese or overweight, the disease process of osteoarthritis is accelerated. Therefore, we should take all steps to reduce weight if necessary and maintain a healthy weight for life. A dietitian can help you develop healthy eating habits. As you all know a healthy diet and regular exercise help reduce weight.
Other important parts of your Treatment plans should include regularly scheduled rest. You must learn to recognize the body's signals and know when to stop or slow down. This will prevent the pain caused by overexertion.
Although pain can make it difficult to sleep, getting proper sleep is very important for managing arthritis pain. If you have trouble sleeping, you may find that relaxation techniques, stress reduction, and biofeedback can help. Remember that appropriate timing of medications as to provide for maximum pain relief through the night will be beneficial for a restful night as well.
As a patient, the foremost thing you expect is relief of pain. You achieve this with either medications or non-drug therapies. I have found that applying heat with warm towels, hot packs, or a warm bath or hot shower to increase blood flow may be quite helpful for easing pain and stiffness. In some cases, cold packs (for this I think that bags of ice or even a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) can relieve pain or slightly numb the sore area.
I am Doctor Sugar and I want to invite you to join me for part 4 of my blog series on Understanding Osteoarthritis. In the next section, I will talk about other alternatives for treatment of osteoarthritis. Make sure to check it out. I’ll see you there!!
Osteoarthritis part 4 HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO continue our discussion on Osteoarthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on other treatments for osteoarthritis. - - so if you are ready, let’s get started with a dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation which is referred to as a TENS unit is another technique used to relieve pain. It uses a small electronic device to direct mild electric pulses to nerve endings that lie beneath the skin in the painful area. It seems to work by blocking pain messages to the brain and by modifying pain perception.
Massaging is also helpful in relieving pain. In this approach to pain relief, a massage therapist will lightly stroke or knead the painful muscles. This may increase blood flow and bring warmth to a stressed area. However, arthritis-stressed joints are sensitive, so the therapist must be familiar with the problems of the disease.
Medications like acetaminophen, NSAIDs (like ibuprophen, motrin, or aspirin) and Tramadol may help to relieve pain. These are available as oral medications. Some of these are also available as injections and topical agents, which can be applied directly over the affected joints. In severe cases, you doctor may inject steroids in to the affected joint, which may provide short term but significant relief from symptoms.
Hyaluronic acid substitutes (visco-supplements) are sometimes used by your doctor to treat osteoarthritis involving the knee joints. These products are designed to replace a normal component of the joint involved in joint lubrication and nutrition. These are injected right into the joint space.
For many people, surgery helps relieve the pain and disability of osteoarthritis. Surgery may be performed to remove loose pieces of bone and cartilage from the joint if the joint is buckling or locking, for repositioning of bones and to resurface or smooth out bones. Surgeons may also replace affected joints with artificial joints called prostheses. Artificial joints can last 10 to 15 years or longer. Osteoarthritis may be considered a life long disease, but many options are available for safe and effective treatment.
I am Doctor Sugar - - If you have osteoarthritis, it is important to work with your health care team to make a plan that works for your lifestyle. Thanks for checking in and If you haven’t already done so be sure to read all of the medical inspiration blogs on osteoarthritis. Thank you for your interest in Total Wellness. Simply click on my picture and go to my profile to see the latest medical blogs on a wide variety of topics. I’ll see you there.
Rheumatoid arthritis part 1 HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO GIVE YOU YOUR DOSE OF MEDICAL INPIRATION FOR THE DAY. OUR TOPIC IS rheumatoid arthritis - SO LETS GET STARTED SHALL WE
Have you ever thought of the impact caused by rheumatoid arthritis? If you are affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), then you are one among the 1-2% of the population affected by the very same disease. Anyone can develop RA. For most people, it begins between the ages of 25 and 50. The prevalence increases with age and up to 5% of women over age 55 are affected by it.
Interestingly, some recent studies have suggested that although the number of new cases of rheumatoid arthritis for older people is increasing, the OVERALL number of new cases may actually be going down. This disease affects people worldwide. And it occurs in all races and all ethnic groups. Like some other forms of arthritis, it occurs much more frequently in women than in men. According to The John Hopkins Arthritis Center the average annual incidence in the United States is about 70 per 100,000 annually.
Since RA is an inflammatory condition affecting the joints, you may have symptoms like swelling, pain, stiffness and loss of junction in the joints. Of the most important features is the presence of morning stiffness in the joints, which may persist for hours.
Most often RA affects the wrist joints and finger joints close to the hand. You can expect the involvement to be symmetrical meaning if it is affecting your right wrist it will also affect your left wrist. It is much less likely to affect your left elbow and your right wrist for example. But remember, it may affect other joints as well. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause other health problems. Your hands may become bent or twisted (deformed). Doctors generally refer to this as ulnar deviation because your fingers may start pointing towards the outer bone in your arm called the ulna. In addition, lung and heart problems may also occur.
You may also feel tired, develop fever at times and have a general sense of not feeling well. For some people, the fatigue, fever and general poor sense of feeling only lasts a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people have mild or moderate forms of the disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Still others have a severe form of the disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years or a lifetime, and leads to serious joint damage and disability.
I am Doctor Sugar and I want to invite you to join me for part 2 of my blog series on Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on the causes of rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to check it out. I’ll see you there!!
HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO continue our discussion on rheumatoid arthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on the causes of rheumatoid arthritis. - - so if you are ready, let’s get started with a dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION.
RA is an autoimmune disease, which means the arthritis results from your immune system attacking your body's own tissues. Scientists still do not know exactly what causes the immune system to turn against itself in rheumatoid arthritis, but research over the last few years has begun to piece together the factors involved.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Scientists have discovered that certain genes known to play a role in the immune system are associated with a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis. The confusing part is that some people with rheumatoid arthritis do not have these particular genes; still others have these genes but never develop the disease. These somewhat contradictory data suggest that a person's genetic makeup plays an important role in determining if he or she will develop rheumatoid arthritis, but it is not the only factor.
What is clear, however, is that more than one gene is involved in determining whether a person develops rheumatoid arthritis and how severe the disease will become. Many scientists think that something must occur to trigger the disease process in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis. Some believe that a viral or bacterial infection appears likely, but the exact agent is not yet known. Keep in mind however that this does not mean that rheumatoid arthritis is contagious: a person certainly cannot catch it from someone else.
Some scientists also think that a variety of hormonal factors may be involved. Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, pregnancy may improve the disease, and the disease may flare after a pregnancy. Breastfeeding may also aggravate the disease. While contraceptive use may alter a person's likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The hormonal changes, or possibly deficiencies or changes in certain hormones, may promote the development of rheumatoid arthritis in a genetically susceptible person who has been exposed to a triggering agent from the environment.
I am Doctor Sugar and I want to invite you to join me for part 3 of my blog series on Understanding rheumatoid arthritis. In the next section, I will go into a lot more detail on what may happen when you go to the doctor and the kinds of tests that are done for rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to check it out. I’ll see you there!!
Rheumatoid arthritis part 3 HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO continue our discussion on rheumatoid arthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on what may happen when you go to the doctor and the kinds of tests that are done for rheumatoid arthritis. - - so if you are ready, let’s get started with a dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION.
How do you know whether the symptoms you suffer from is due to RA? While your family doctor may begin the work up of your symptoms, and start ordering tests, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist who usually diagnoses RA. A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in arthritis and other diseases of the joints, bones, and muscles. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages for several reasons. First, there is no single test for the disease. In addition, symptoms differ from person to person. Also, symptoms can be similar to those of other types of arthritis and it may take some time for other conditions to be ruled out. Finally, the full range of symptoms develops over time, and only a few symptoms may be present in the early stages.
As a result, doctors use a variety of the tools to diagnose the disease and to rule out other conditions. After obtaining your full medical history and performing a physical examination, your doctor may order for a few laboratory tests like a complete blood count, an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (SED rate or ESR), a C-reactive protein (CRP), and also a blood test for rheumatoid factor. Depending on your symptoms, a test called ANA which is usually associated with Lupus may also be checked. You will then probably be sent for x-rays. Complete blood count may show an increased white blood cell count or a low red blood cell count, which is more commonly referred to as anemia. You may also have a high Sed rate and a high CRP. Rheumatoid factor is an ANTIBODY that is present eventually in the blood of most people with rheumatoid arthritis. An antibody is a special protein, which is made by the immune system. Under normal circumstances the antibodies that your immune system makes helps you to fight foreign substances in the body. Unfortunately in rheumatoid arthritis, your own antibodies start attacking your joints. Rheumatoid factor is the test that tests for this antibody but unfortunately for your doctor, who is attempting to diagnose your symptoms, Not ALL people with rheumatoid arthritis test positive for rheumatoid factor - - this is true especially early in the disease. Also, just to confuse things, some people test positive for rheumatoid factor, yet never develop the disease. X rays are used to determine the degree of joint destruction. They too are not useful in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis before bone damage is evident, but they can be used later to monitor the progression of the disease.
I am Doctor Sugar and I want to invite you to join me for part 4 of my blog series on Understanding rheumatoid arthritis. In the next section, I will go into a lot more detail on treatment and prognosis for rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to check it out. I’ll see you there!!
Rheumatoid arthritis part 4 HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO continue our discussion on rheumatoid arthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on lifestyle modification for rheumatoid arthritis. - - so if you are ready, let’s get started with a dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION.
Doctors use a variety of approaches to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These are used in different combinations and at different times during the course of the disease and are chosen according to the patient's individual situation. The treatment goals are to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, slow down or stop joint damage, and improve the person's sense of well-being and ability to function.
Good communication between the patient and doctor is necessary for effective treatment. Talking to your doctor at regularly scheduled visits can help ensure that exercise and pain management programs are provided as needed, and that drugs are prescribed appropriately.
Certain activities can help improve a person's ability to function independently and maintain a positive outlook. •People with rheumatoid arthritis need a good balance between rest and exercise, with more rest when the disease is active and more exercise when it is not. •Some people find using a splint for a short time around a painful joint reduces pain and swelling by supporting the joint and letting it rest. Splints are used mostly on wrists and hands, but occasionally also on ankles and feet. •People with rheumatoid arthritis face emotional challenges as well as physical ones. The emotions they feel because of the disease- - fear, anger, and frustration-combined with any pain and physical limitations can increase their stress level. Although there is no evidence that stress plays a role in causing rheumatoid arthritis, it can make living with the disease difficult at times. And I think it is pretty clear that Stress can affect the amount of pain a person feels.
There are a number of successful techniques for coping with stress. Regular rest periods can help, as can relaxation techniques, distraction techniques, deep breathing techniques, or visualization exercises. Exercise programs, participation in support groups, and good communication with the health care team are other ways to reduce stress.
•With the exception of several specific types of oils, there is no scientific evidence that any specific food or nutrient helps or harms people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, an overall nutritious diet with enough-but not an excess of-calories, protein, and calcium is important.
I am Doctor Sugar and I want to invite you to join me for part 5 of my blog series on Understanding rheumatoid arthritis. In the next section, I will go into a lot more detail on treatment and prognosis for rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to check it out. I’ll see you there!!
Rheumatoid arthritis part 5 HELLO I AM DR. SUGAR, YOUR INTERNET DOCTOR, HERE TO continue our discussion on rheumatoid arthritis. I will go into a lot more detail on treatment and prognosis for rheumatoid arthritis. - - so if you are ready, let’s get started with a dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION.
Most people who have rheumatoid arthritis take medications. Some medications are used only for pain relief; others are used to reduce inflammation. Still others, often called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), are used to try to slow the course of the disease. Biologic response modifiers are new drugs used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Several things must be taken into consideration when choosing a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. For example, the person's general condition, the current and predicted severity of the illness, the length of time he or she will take the drug, and the drug's effectiveness as well as the potential side effects of the medication are all important considerations in prescribing drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.
The various medications used to treat RA are NSAIDs, Corticosteroids, DMARDS disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs like Azathioprine, Cyclosporine, Hydroxychloroquine, Gold sodium thiomalate, Leflunomide, Methotrexate, & Sulfasalazine and biologic response modifiers like Etanercept, Infliximab, Adalimumab. IF you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out the entire series on rheumatoid arthritis new and emerging treatments, which goes into much more detail on each of these treatment options. If you or a loved one has rheumatoid arthritis, you will definitely want to see it.
Several types of surgery are also available to patients with severe joint damage. The primary purpose of these procedures is to reduce pain, improve the affected joint's function, and improve the patient's ability to perform daily activities. Surgery is not for everyone, however, and the decision should be made only after careful consideration by patient and doctor. The surgeries that are currently available are Joint replacement, Tendon reconstruction and Synovectomy. In synovectomy, the doctor actually removes the inflamed synovial tissue.
RA is a lifelong disease. Sometimes, if it's treated, it will go away for a little while, but it usually comes back. It is important to see your doctor as soon as you begin to experience symptoms. If not treated early in the disease course, it may cause disability. If your disease is treated with these new treatment options early and aggressively, you have a very good chance of going into complete remission.
This does not mean your Rheumatoid Arthritis is cured, as it is a chronic disease for which no cure exists today, but it means that your symptoms could go away completely as long as your medication is working for you. These treatments have also been shown to reduce or even avoid long-term joint destruction and lower the risk of disability.
I am Doctor Sugar - - If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to work with your health care team to make a plan that works for your lifestyle. Thanks for checking in and if you haven’t already done so be sure to read all of the medical inspiration blogs on rheumatoid arthritis. Thank you for your interest in Total Wellness. Simply click on my picture and go to my profile to see the latest medical blogs on a wide variety of topics. I’ll see you there. Giving You Your Dose of MEDICAL INSPIRATION, Dr. Sugar TO YOUR TOTAL WELLNESS!!