If you are among the millions of people who take prescription medication each day, you might find it confusing to remember all the details about taking those medications. Those who take prescription drugs as well as those with replacement joints and other prosthetics need to be aware of FDA updates that affect them. For many patients, this task can seem overwhelming. Unfortunately, health and safety risks grow much greater when a patient doesn’t receive word of a safety update or medical recall. What would happen if you were affected by a hip replacement recall but unaware that the recall had been issued? Continue reading
Women appear to suffer more from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than men. This is revealed in research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
Tuulikki Sokka from the Jyvaskyla Central Hospital, Finland, along with other members of the Quantitative Standard Monitoring of Patients with RA (QUEST-RA) program, explored possible associations between gender and disease activity measures, treatments, and clinical characteristics in more than 6,000 RA patients from 70 sites in 25 countries. She said, “The possible influence of gender and gender-related variables on the symptoms, severity, and prognosis of rheumatoid arthritis has been of considerable interest for some time. Generally, women report more severe symptoms, greater disability, and often have higher work disability rates than men.”
The demographic characteristics of the group the authors studied were typical of an RA cohort; 79% were female, more than 90% were Caucasians and the mean age was 57 years. The patients were evaluated by a doctor and completed a self-report about their own condition. Women had higher scores (indicating poorer status) than men in all of the key measures, the gender gap being widest in the self-reported measures. According to Sokka, “Obvious differences between genders exist in the prevalence, age at onset, and level of production of harmful arthritis autoantibodies. Furthermore, women report more symptoms and poor scores on most questionnaires, including scores for pain, depression, and other health-related items”.
However, the authors do speculate that most of gender differences may originate from the measures of disease activity rather than from the RA disease activity itself. Sokka said, “Women have less strength than men, which has as much of a major effect in the functional status of patients with RA as it does in the healthy population. In fact, the gender differences in musculoskeletal performance remain even among the fittest individuals – female and male athletes still compete separately. Given that woman is the “weaker vessel” concerning musculoskeletal size and strength and her baseline values are lower than men’s, the same burden of a musculoskeletal disease may appear to be more harmful to a woman than to a man.”
New research suggests that the appetite-regulating hormone leptin may play a role in the long-recognized connection between obesity and osteoarthritis (OA). The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown and loss of cartilage and the formation of bony overgrowths in the joints.
Scientists have long known that obesity is the number one preventable risk factor for osteoarthritis, but only in recent years have they ramped up research to understand how obesity and OA are connected.
Traditionally, the connection was assumed to be related to wear and tear. More weight meant a greater load for the joints to bear. But the wear-and-tear theory did not explain why joints in the hand, which do not bear weight, are also affected by OA. To better understand the systemic role obesity might play, Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., director of orthopaedic research in the Department of Surgery at Duke University, and his colleagues studied obese mice.
In their new study, supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, the group studied mice genetically engineered to lack either leptin or leptin receptors on the cells.
Leptin acts in the brain to control appetite, but to do so it must bind to receptors on cells. Removing either the molecule or the receptor has virtually the same effect — no functioning leptin. And for the mice studied, the result of no functioning leptin was a body weight approximately four times that of normal mice — which would seem like the ideal model for studying obesity-related OA. But, the mice didn’t develop OA at all. In fact, their joint cartilage was just as healthy, if not more so, than that of normal mice.
Researchers say if they can better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in OA, they may be better able to interfere with them and perhaps prevent the disease or stop its progression.
The Arthritis Foundation also provided funding for this study.
The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For more information about NIAMS, call the information clearinghouse at (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS (free call) or visit the NIAMS Web site at http://www.niams.nih.gov
Older adults who reported chronic musculoskeletal pain in two or more locations, higher levels of severe pain, or pain that interfered with daily activities were more likely to experience a fall than adults who did not reports these types of pain, according to a study in the November 25 issue of JAMA.
“Falls rank among the 10 leading causes of death in older adults in the United States, resulting in more than $19 billion in health care costs annually. Despite a growing body of scientific evidence supporting associations between a number of risk factors and falls, efforts to translate these findings into effective fall prevention strategies have been limited,” the authors write. Few reports have examined chronic pain as a risk for falls in older adults. “Pain contributes to functional decline and muscle weakness and is associated with mobility limitations that could predispose to falls.”
Suzanne G. Leveille, Ph.D., R.N., of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and colleagues conducted a study to determine whether chronic musculoskeletal pain is associated with an increased occurrence of falls in older adults. The study included 749 adults, age 70 years and older, who were enrolled in the study from September 2005 through January 2008. Pain was assessed via questionnaires. Participants recorded falls on monthly calendar postcards mailed to the study center during an 18-month period.
At the beginning of the study, 40 percent of participants reported chronic pain in more than one joint area and 24 percent reported chronic pain in only one joint area. A total of 1,029 falls were reported by the 749 participants during and up to 18 months of follow-up. Four hundred five participants (55 percent) fell at least once during the follow-up. Analysis indicated that compared with participants who reported no pain or those in the lowest groups of pain scores, participants who reported two or more sites of pain had an increased risk for falls; those reporting the highest levels of pain severity also had an increased rate of falls; and pain interference with activities was also associated with a greater occurrence of falls.
The researchers write that they observed a strong graded relationship in the short term between pain severity ratings each month with risk for falls in the subsequent month. “For example, among persons who reported severe or very severe pain for any given month on their calendar postcard, there was a 77 percent increased likelihood for a fall in the subsequent month compared with those who reported no pain.” Persons reporting even very mild pain also had an elevated odds of falling in any given month.
The authors suggest there may be several possible mechanisms for the pain-falls relationship, including neuromuscular effects of pain, which could lead to leg muscle weakness or slowed neuromuscular responses to an impending fall. “Another factor may be gait alterations or adaptations to chronic pain that lead to instability and subsequent balance impairments. Chronic pain may serve as a distractor or, in some way, interfere with cognitive activity needed to prevent a fall. Successful avoidance or interruptions of a fall typically requires a cognitively mediated physical maneuver.”
“The findings provide evidence suggesting that the common complaint of the aches and pains of old age is related to a greater hazard than previously thought. Daily discomfort may accompany not only difficulties in performing daily activities but equally as important may be a risk for falls and possibly fall-related injuries in the older population. The significance of this work is in the identification of chronic pain as an overlooked and potentially important risk factor for falls in older adults. A randomized controlled trial is needed to determine whether improved pain control could reduce risk for falls among older patients with chronic pain,” the researchers conclude.
Journal of the American Medical Association
In 2006, the National Institutes of Health’s Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) showed that these popular arthritis supplements don’t help. But many patients held out hope that an ongoing second GAIT would uncover some benefit.
Now results are in for the second part of this landmark trial, and the final analysis suggests more of the same: Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements do not effectively treat osteoarthritis.
Cartilage cushions and protects joints. As osteoarthritis progresses, this cushion wears away, causing joint pain and disability. Glucosamine/chondroitin supplements (they are sold both as a combination pill and separately) contain compounds found in cartilage and are touted to help repair and slow joint deterioration. But it’s unknown how the body processes these compounds or if they ever make it to the cartilage.
The first GAIT analysis included 1,600 participants and measured how well glucosamine/chondroitin supplements reduced pain compared with a placebo and the proven pain reliever celecoxib (Celebrex). After six months researchers reported that, overall, these supplements were no more effective than placebo at relieving pain. As was expected, people taking celecoxib reported the greatest improvement.
Among a small group of participants with moderate to severe knee pain, those taking the combination supplement reported greater pain relief than people taking placebo, but this group was too small for researchers to say for sure that the combo works. Moreover, within this small group, placebo users reported as much pain relief as those taking celecoxib, which casts further doubt on the purported benefits of supplements.
Researchers hoped that the second GAIT analysis, which used x-rays to measure the physical effects of these supplements on knee joints, would clarify matters. Knee images from 357 people with osteoarthritis were analyzed to see if daily glucosamine/chondroitin supplements prevented a loss of joint space — the distance between the ends of bones in the joint. (Bones get closer together as cartilage wears away.) There were no meaningful differences among people taking glucosamine/chondroitin, celecoxib, or placebo.
Glucosamine and chondroitin together did worse than when each was taken alone, but again, these differences were insignificant and no better than placebo. As in the first trial, a small subgroup of patients showed a trend toward improvement. This time, however, the trend was seen in patients with less severe osteoarthritis pain who were taking glucosamine alone — not a combination supplement.
Many people will probably continue to take these supplements despite the new data — osteoarthritis hurts, relief is hard to find, and the small group of participants who benefited is still a nagging issue. About 1,500 mg a day of glucosamine alone is the most promising dosage.
But be aware that well-designed trials done independent of supplement manufacturers have not been able to prove these supplements work, despite their enormous popularity. Moreover, pills can cost more than $30 a month; this is a lot of money to spend on what might be a placebo effect.
Although approved osteoarthritis medicines might provide relief from pain and other symptoms, but they also pose significant health hazards by way of adverse side effects. In many cases, they also can cause a lot of life threatening diseases. Find out the expert facts and natural treatments for osteoarthritis in this article.
To cite an example, Vioxx is a Cox-2 inhibitor drug and an approved osteoarthritis medicine manufactured by Merck. It had to be recalled from the market because it caused a lot of adverse side effects such as strokes, heart attacks and blood clots in the patient’s suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, till today there are thousands of pending cases and law suits against it.
Similarly, Bextra is a drug similar to Vioxx. It was also taken off the market due to similar reasons. It had been found to cause Stevens Johnson syndrome, which is a type of skin disorder.
Similarly, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which are approved osteoarthritis medicines also carry warning label stating that “users may face an increased risk of cardiovascular side effects and gastrointestinal bleeding”.
Corticosteroids also come under “approved osteoarthritis medicines”. They provide effective short-term relief from inflammation and pain. But they are known to cause various serious side effects such as fatigue, depression, drug dependence, abdominal pain, blurred vision, increased blood sugar levels in diabetics, etc.
Narcotic pain relievers such as oxycodone, vicodin, etc. are also approved osteoarthritis medicine. You would be shocked to know that the manufacturers of oxycodone had to pay millions of dollars as damages. It was because their sales representatives had allegedly advised the doctors that the drug was less addictive in comparison to other narcotics, whereas in reality it was one of the most addictive drugs.
Narcotic pain relievers only provide temporary pain relief as they block the pain receptors of nerve cells. In fact, they don’t reduce inflammation at all. They can cause a lot of side effects such as constipation, dry mouth, drowsiness and difficulty in urinating. They also pose the risk of causing liver damage if their use is accompanied with alcohol.
Due to the risk of such side effects, more and more people are shifting towards the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Although they are not approved osteoarthritis medicine, they are frequently recommended by medical experts. They include nutritional supplements, increased physical activity and dietary changes.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a very important role in alleviating osteoarthritis symptoms. They reduce inflammation and tenderness in joints, enhance joint mobility and decrease morning stiffness in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Fish oil supplements are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Although they cannot be classified as osteoarthritis medication due to FTC regulations, they are widely used as long term treatment of osteoarthritis as well as due to their amazing benefits on overall health including the heart, brain, skin, digestive system, and joints.
Omega-3 fatty acids are natural blood thinners. Therefore, in case you are taking blood thinner medications such as aspirin, you should consult your doctor before you use fish oil supplements or omega-3 supplements as a treatment for osteoarthritis. This is so that you can avoid taking too many blood thinners as that could lead to serious side effects.
Green lipped mussel found in New Zealand is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. It contains outstanding anti-inflammatory properties and helps to reduce pain and joint stiffness, increase grip strength and improves joint mobility in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.
The research on the best natural alternatives for treating osteoarthritis is going on. Newly approved osteoarthritis medicine might come up in the future. In the meantime, fish oil supplementation with a combination of green lipped mussel is one of the best natural alternatives for omega-3 supplementation and long-term treatment of osteoarthritis.
Vijay K Raisinghani is a Natural Healthcare Expert and a passionate advocate of Omega 3 Fish oils for a healthy mind and body. His website http://www.your-omega3-fish-oil-guide.com provides a wealth of information on what works and what doesn’t work in Omega 3 fish oils to achieve a young, vibrant and robust health.
Did you know that education is listed as the critical first step in the treatment of Osteoarthritis by the American College of Rheumatology? Education is clearly recognized as an important component of Osteoarthritis therapy and it is important that physicians educate their patients to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of their disease. However, it is equally important that you educate yourself on the causes, symptoms, treatments and the realistic outcomes for your Osteoarthritis. It is essential that you take a very active role in your disease and understand the benefits of being active in the management of your disease. The most important role you can take is knowing the essential questions to ask your doctor. Research has shown that the answers to the following 10 questions can greatly improve treatment outcomes.
1. What is the proper full name of my disease?
2. What was the specific cause or causes of my disease?
3. Why or how did my disease start?
4. What will the effects of my disease be to me?
5. How does it work?
6. How severe is my disease?
7. Will I have it permanently? Is there a cure?
8. What are the most likely limitations my disease will cause me?
9. What are my treatment options? Which do you think will work best? Why those?
10. What are the most important results you hope to achieve with treating my disease?
Previously, clinical trials have been done in numerous diseases including: Depression in the elderly, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis using this same set of 10 questions. In all these previous studies, these questions were used to determine if the level of patient education affected compliance with their physician’s instructions and treatment results. Interestingly, in all these previous studies, low patient education was found to be the single most important factor to influence not only compliance with their doctor’s instructions (treatments), but also was found to be the single greatest influence on treatment results including controlling pain! Not the doctor, not the specific treatments, only patient education.
Specifically in Osteoarthritis, research has shown that most patient’s have little understanding of their disease. This leads to poorer treatment results, prognosis, and quality of life including higher levels of pain. For example, in one clinical trial I did on Osteoarthritis, some patients actually made their joint pain worse. These patients incorrectly believed that it was best to be inactive in order to reduce pain and to protect their joints. In fact, the lack of activity can not only worsen joint pain, but can also lead to numerous other negative results including muscle weakening, disability, and negative Cardiovascular effects. Because of the potential harmful risks taken by patients who have little knowledge of their disease, it is critical for patients to understand their disease.
Clearly there are differences between the patient and the doctor in their knowledge of Osteoarthritis. However, the objective should be for you to have a general understanding of your disease, the various treatment options, and why specific treatments will be used. In previous research, when patients had little knowledge of their disease, resulted in lower compliance with their doctors prescribed treatments. The outcome of your medical treatment results is dependent on your level of awareness of Osteoarthritis. The greater your understanding of your disease, the better you can make informed decisions regarding your overall health.
Asking open-ended questions like these may seem difficult because of the time required. However, it is not necessary or realistic to discuss all of these questions in one appointment with your doctor. Instead, it is recommended to discuss these questions over a few appointments. The information obtained from asking all these open-ended questions has been shown to be very valuable for a patient to improve their treatment results. During a clinical trial I did on Osteoarthritis, I suggested that patients print out this list of questions and bring them along to their appointment.
You can go to the website to download and print this list of questions which includes space to write down the answers provided by your doctor during your discussions.
Dr. Samuel Dyer-
Has done clinical research on Osteoarthritis including investigating the communication between a doctor and a patient, and investigating the most successful treatment outcomes including various medicines, supplements, and specific diets to reduce pain and symptoms. Find a wealth of credible information, learn the latest research and find numerous recommended products, including Glucosamine, to manage pain and and other symptoms by going to: http://www.IHaveOsteoarthritis.com
Ayruvedic medicine is an ancient system of natural medicine from India that has been practiced there for centuries. Dr. Deepak Chopra has helped bring this ancient healing art to the North America. Now you can have arthritis natural treatment using Ayruvedic medicine.
With regard to arthritis, most pains are caused by the aggravation of one of the three doshas, (vata) and a build up of toxins (ama).
Fasting is a great way to expel toxins and the fast should be accompanied by taking two teaspoons of lemon juice with a teaspoon of honey in a cup of warm water every day – once in the morning and again in the evening.
Here are the 7 ways:
• Reduce inflammation and pain (vata) with a body massage using sesame or mustard oil.
• A light exercise routine is recommended. Listen to your body. If exercise causes you pain after one hour then stop – even if you’re only walking.
• For skeletal pain, take orange juice, lime juice or vitamin C.
• There is an Ayruvedic herb called guggul and this can be taken with warm water twice a day after meals.
• Foods that can help:
Vegetable juices and soups, which are easily digested. Also carrot, cucumber and red beets juice. Green salad with lemon and salt. Cooked vegetables include zucchini, squash and pumpkin. Fruits include apples, oranges, grapes and papaya. Spices for cooking: cumin, coriander, fennel, turmeric, ginger and asafetida.
• Foods to avoid:
Fried food, spicy food and foods that form wind like okra, spinach, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. Don’t indulge in an excess of tea or coffee, alcohol, white sugar, yoghurt, chocolate and cocoa. Sweets generally should be avoided as should smoking.
• Your Daily Routine:
Don’t sleep during the day and don’t stay up late. Avoid emotions such as excess fear, anxiety, worry, grief and stress.
You should consider the wisdom of Ayruveda if you have arthritis. These steps are simple to do and could ease your arthritis pain. Arthritis natural treatment using Ayruvedic medicine is very significant. Naturally, it is important to consult your doctor before doing this.
The results of a new analysis have provided good evidence to suggest that tai chi is beneficial for arthritis
The results of a new analysis have provided good evidence to suggest that Tai Chi is beneficial for arthritis. Specifically, it was shown to decrease pain with trends towards improving overall physical health, level of tension and satisfaction with health status.
Musculoskeletal pain, such as that experienced by people with arthritis, places a severe burden on the patient and community and is recognized as an international health priority. Exercise therapy including such as strengthening, stretching and aerobic programs, have been shown to be effective for arthritic pain. Tai Chi, is a form of exercise that is regularly practiced in China to improve overall health and well-being. It is usually preformed in a group but is also practiced individually at one’s leisure, which differs from traditional exercise therapy approaches used in the clinic.
Recently, a new study examined the effectiveness of Tai Chi in decreasing pain and disability and improving physical function and quality of life in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. The study is published in the June issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/77005015/home). Led by Amanda Hall of The George Institute in Sydney, Australia, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. They analyzed seven eligible randomized controlled trials that used Tai Chi as the main intervention for patients with musculoskeletal pain. The results demonstrate that Tai Chi improves pain and disability in patients suffering arthritis.
The authors state, “The fact that Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, and enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits supports the use this type of intervention for pain conditions such as arthritis.”
“It is of importance to note that the results reported in this systematic review are indicative of the effect of Tai Chi versus minimal intervention (usual health care or health education) or wait list control,” the authors note. Establishing the specific effects of Tai Chi would require a placebo-controlled trial, which has not yet been undertaken.
Article: “The Effectiveness of Tai Chi for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Amanda Hall, Chris Maher, Jane Latimer, Manuela Ferreira, Arthritis Care & Research, June 2009.
Celebrex is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory medicine, which fight against inflammation, pain, swelling and it also reduces the amount of substance that causes them. Celebrex is generally prescribed to patients suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Continue reading