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Carol Eustice



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6 Questions You Must Ask Your Arthritis Doctor

Wednesday April 23, 2014

The importance of a good doctor-patient relationship has been emphasized. This goes beyond exchanging pleasantries, being courteous, and having a good "bedside manner". Doctors and patients must work as a team.

In order for you to work well with your doctor, you must understand certain things about your diagnosis, why your treatment was chosen, and treatment goals as you go forward. By asking a few questions, you can get the answers you need. Full article: 6 Questions Arthritis Patients Must Ask Their Doctor.

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Four Genes Linked to Pain Tolerance

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have a higher tolerance for pain compared to others? Some people with severe arthritis pain seem to handle it better than others who have minor pain. Is it a personality thing -- or is there a physiological basis for the difference in pain perception?

According to study results, which will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting, four genes may tell the story. Researchers evaluated 2,721 people who were diagnosed with chronic pain and were taking prescription opioid pain medications. The study participants rated their own pain perception from 0 to 10, while researchers identified the presence of four genes (COMT, DRD2, DRD1, and OPRK1) in the participants.

Results showed that the DRD1 gene was 33% more prevalent in participants with low pain than high pain. The COMT and OPRK1 genes were 25% and 19% more prevalent, respectively, in those with moderate pain than those with high pain. The DRD2 gene was 25% more prevalent among those with high pain compared to those with moderate pain. Why is this information important? It could possibly lead to new treatments for pain down the road. Also, it tells us that pain perception is not necessarily random.

More: Types of Pain Scales | Variation in Pain Tolerance/Perception | Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain

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CDC Raises Concerns Over Culture Test for Lyme Disease

Saturday April 19, 2014

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has reviewed published methods and results for a new laboratory-developed test for Lyme disease. The test involves a culture process to identify the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. The culture method, which was published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, utilizes a two-step enrichment process followed by immunostaining with or without PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis. Despite the reportedly high success rate of the test, upon review, the CDC expressed concern over false positive results caused by laboratory contamination which could lead to misdiagnosis.

Late stage Lyme disease can be associated with arthritis. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential, but it must be done properly. The CDC currently recommends two-tier serologic testing for the diagnosis of Lyme disease which utilizes an FDA-approved enzyme immunoassay (EIA) that can be confirmed with an FDA-approved immunoblot test, known as the Western blot test. A patient is diagnosed with Lyme disease when both the EIA and Western blot yield positive results.

The CDC issued a warning back in 2005 about the questionable accuracy and usefulness of "home brew" tests (i.e., tests developed and used by a single laboratory that are not cleared by the FDA). In the April 18, 2014 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC reiterates their concern.

More: Facts About Lyme Disease | Lyme Disease Screening Quiz

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Why Are You Experiencing Inadequate Relief From Arthritis Pain?

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Most people with early symptoms of arthritis try to self-treat initially. If symptoms persist, they usually consult with a doctor. Even then, there are many treatment options and decisions to make. Over time, it is not uncommon for arthritis patients to switch medications or try complementary treatments if they feel pain relief is inadequate.

It is important to recognize when your current treatment is ineffective. First, you must consider why relief may be insufficient. I have compiled a list of possible reasons. It could be the treatment -- but it could also be due to other factors. Full article: 10 Reasons You May Have Inadequate Relief From Arthritis Pain.

More: Arthritis Treatment - What to Expect | Arthritis Medications - Are They Working? | Arthritis Treatment Options

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NSAIDs May Increase Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

Sunday April 13, 2014

Current and recent use of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may be linked to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) in adults age 55 and older. NSAIDs are commonly prescribed to treat arthritis. According to BMJ Open, researchers monitored the heart health of 8,423 people taking part in the Rotterdam Study, a population based study that has been tracking the development of illness and associated risk factors in adults 55 and over since 1990 in one district of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

During a period of about 13 years, 857 of the 8,423 participants developed atrial fibrillation. Of those who developed atrial fibrillation, 261 had never used NSAIDs, 554 had used NSAIDs in the past, and 42 were currently taking NSAIDs. Current use of NSAIDs was associated with a 76% greater risk of atrial fibrillation than never having used NSAIDs, after adjusting for other risk factors, including age, sex, and existing cardiovascular problems. Recent use (within the last 30 days) was linked to an 84% greater risk of atrial fibrillation. The trend for higher doses to be linked to a higher risk was not statistically significant. Also, current use of NSAIDs for more than 30 days was not associated with higher risk of atrial fibrillation. The findings suggest that the increased risk occurs shortly after starting treatment with NSAIDs, and it may disappear over time. More studies are needed to fully explain the underlying mechanism.

More: Facts About NSAIDs | NSAIDs - Test Your Knowledge

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Have Higher Risk of Kidney Disease Than General Population

Thursday April 10, 2014

People with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop reduced kidney function over time compared to the general population, according to study results published in the February 2014 issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Researchers studied 813 Mayo Clinic patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 813 without the disease. Over a 20-year period, those with rheumatoid arthritis have a 1 in 4 chance of developing chronic kidney disease compared to a 1 in 5 chance for the general population. While that may sound insignificant, it is not.

Factors contributing to the higher risk of kidney disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients include corticosteroid use, an elevated sedimentation rate in the first year of having rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Researchers advised doctors to be cautious when selecting medications for rheumatoid arthritis patients and to order periodic blood tests and urinalysis to detect kidney abnormalities. To reduce the risk of developing kidney disease, patients are advised to keep their blood pressure under control, avoid a diet that is high in salt, avoid medications that are toxic to the kidneys (e.g., NSAIDs), and get inflammation under control.

Tests Detect Kidney Problems | Blood Tests Monitor Effectiveness and Toxicity of Medications

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Milk Consumption May Decrease Knee Osteoarthritis Progression in Women

Tuesday April 8, 2014

According to study results published online April 7, 2014 in Arthritis Care and Research, women who frequently drink fat-free or low-fat milk may delay the progression of knee osteoarthritis. The finding was not the same for men. Also, not all dairy was associated with this effect -- women who ate cheese had an increase in the progression of knee osteoarthritis. Yogurt did not impact progression of osteoarthritis in men or women.

In the study, 2,148 participants with knee osteoarthritis were recruited for the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Dietary data was collected at the study onset and joint space width was measured by x-ray. Researchers found that as milk intake increased from 0 to less than 3 , 4-6, and more than 7 glasses per week, the joint space width in women decreased.

Osteoarthritis - 10 Things You Should Know | Osteoarthritis Screening Quiz

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10 Ways You Can Help a Friend or Loved One With Arthritis

Friday April 4, 2014

Arthritis is a tough disease. Chronic pain and physical limitations can get in the way of usual daily activities and what we all consider "normal life". Most people with arthritis could use help -- not all the time, but sometimes. Most absolutely hate to ask for help, even when they realize close friends or family members are more than willing.

It can be hard for people to figure out how to help someone with arthritis. It's not always easy to know what they need most. I have put together a list of 10 ways you can help someone with arthritis. Obviously, how much help they need is tied to disease severity. With that in mind, check out my list and hopefully it will generate even more ideas. Full article: How You Can Help Someone With Arthritis.

Physical Limitations - A Consequence of Arthritis | What Do You Wish People Would Understand About Arthritis?

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Parental Addictions Linked to Arthritis in Adulthood

Thursday April 3, 2014

According to a study conducted by University of Toronto researchers, the adult offspring of parents who were addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to have arthritis. There were 13,036 respondents in the study. Parental addiction was associated with a 58% higher risk of arthritis in the offspring. Even after researchers adjusted for adult offspring behaviors that may have contributed, such as smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption, there was still a 30% higher risk of developing arthritis.

The survey had no way to determine if the relationship between arthritis and parental addiction was causal, so further studies would be needed.

Cause of Joint Pain | Is Arthritis Hereditary?

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Inflammatory Arthritis - What Is It?

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Not all types of arthritis are classified as "inflammatory arthritis". Inflammatory types of arthritis may involve multiple joints simultaneously, but not always. The most common type of inflammatory arthritis, gout, is usually acute and only involves one or few joints.

Often, an overactive or malfunctioning immune system is the cause of inflammation. What are the primary symptoms of inflammatory arthritis? What are the acute types and the chronic types of inflammatory arthritis? How is it diagnosed and differentiated from non-inflammatory arthritis? Full article: What Is Inflammatory Arthritis?

Ways to Reduce Inflammation | Anti-Inflammatory Diet | Inflammation - Test Your Knowledge

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