It costs a lot of money and hassle to go for an MRI to monitor the onset and progress of arthritis.
So, a new study published the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology comes as a heaven sent for anyone concerned about this disease.
You can perform this test right now, right where you’re sitting.
Slide your fingertips across the full length of the fingers on your opposing hand. Do you feel any bony enlargements of your finger joints that were not there when you’re younger.
Medical scientists call them Heberden’s nodes and they are very typical hallmarks of osteoarthritis.
Since they indicate osteoarthritis of the finger joints and as they are so easily visible, researchers wondered whether they could be used to indicate the presence of osteoarthritis in other joints too.
To find out, a team of scientists recruited 575 participants from the Foundation for the National Institute of Health project.
They subjected their participants to a detailed examination of the finger joints to check for Heberden’s nodes. At the same time, they performed an MRI scan on the subject’s knees.
395 of their subjects had Heberden’s nodes and 188 did not.
People with Heberden’s nodes were more likely to have knee arthritis than those without them.
24 months later, they repeated the knee MRI scan to check whether their knee arthritis had progressed structurally.
Accordingly, those with Heberden’s nodes experienced more thickening of the bones surrounding their knee joints indicated that their arthritis was progressing.
This means that you and your doctors can use your fingers to predict knee arthritis and probably other types of arthritis.
This is not only a cheaper and more convenient method than MRIs but can also help to indicate that you must start taking action to cope with arthritis even before you start experiencing any pain.
Like many people, you might be heeding the widely touted advice to consume moderate amounts of red wine for the sake of your heart.
But can alcohol affect arthritis?
As it turns out, what types of alcoholic beverages you choose to imbibe can, indeed, influence your joint health.
Moreover, scientists are finding these associations to be both beneficial and detrimental, between the types of alcoholic beverages and particular forms of arthritis.
Grapes are famous for their high levels of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant thought to help prevent heart disease and certain forms of cancer. As it turns out, resveratrol might also help to improve joint health.
In a preliminary study on mice, resveratrol inhibited two types of white blood cells associated with RA. The mice also showed lower levels of inflammation and less bone erosion.
A compound in grapes, known as Gallic acid, is a type of phenolic antioxidant that has the power to cut inflammation off at the knees, according to results of one study.
Researchers say it does this by inhibiting the expression of pro-inflammatory genes. They also note that Gallic acid promotes an early death of certain joint cells when they begin to behave badly in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
When rheumatoid-affected cells were treated with Gallic acid, the cells weakened and died. Levels of inflammatory markers and tissue-degrading enzymes also decreased, following Gallic acid treatment.
The Nurse’s Health Study, a decades-long study involving more than 200,000 U.S. nurses, determined that moderate alcohol consumption could offer protection against RA.
Participants who tested positive for RA blood markers showed even greater benefits. Beer drinkers also fared well, with women from the study who recorded drinking beer 2-4 times per week showed a 31% decrease in the risk of developing the disease.
If you have gout or if you are prone to developing gout, you might want to avoid beer, according to the information published in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The study, which questioned nearly 15,000 participants on their beer, liquor, and wine consumption and compared the data with their uric acid levels, found that beer and hard liquor were associated with increased uric acid levels, with beer showing a greater detrimental effect. In contrast, wine consumption did not seem to increase uric acid levels.
Another study sought to clear up the anecdotal evidence that wine may act as a trigger for gout flare-ups and found that wine, beer, and liquor were all associated with an increased risk of gout attacks.
The risk was 1.36 times higher for moderate consumption – anything more than 1-2 drinks in a 24-hour period – and 1.51 times higher for more than 2-4 drinks in a 24-hour period.
So, if you suffer gout, you should just stay away from any type of alcohol.
It’s not an autoimmune disease, like RA, or a metabolic problem, like in gout; rather, osteoarthritis (OA) is your garden-variety worn-out joint disease.
However, your alcohol drinking habits may also play a role as to whether you develop OA.
A study on the possible connection between alcohol consumption and OA of the knee and hip found that wine drinking actually provided protective effects while beer drinkers showed an increased risk, providing another good reason to eschew the trendy local microbrewery fare and, instead, explore the offerings at your favorite wine bar in your neighborhood.
For more ideas on how to improve joint health, watch this video – 10 Best Foods To Fight Arthritis And Joint Pain
This post is from the Arthritis Strategy Program. It was created by Shelly Manning, a former arthritis sufferer and a health consultant.
A Brief Background on the Author
Like you, Shelly Manning also suffered from arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. This was due to her weight and desk job. Her condition eventually took a toll on her relationship with her (former) husband.
It was when she went to Hong Kong that she met Janerdquo, an old woman who owned the restaurant where she ate. Janerdquo supposedly offered her a bowl of a weird-smelling soup, which helped ease her joint pain. She ate there each day for 10 days until she was completely healed from arthritis.
Shelly Manning decided to research this natural remedy and to create a step-by-step treatment plan to others who are suffering from different types of arthritis, such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and psoriatic arthritis.
That’s why she created “The Arthritis Step By Step Strategy.” According to her claims, this unique strategy will get rid of joint pain and stiffness, repair your damaged joints, and treat the underlying cause of your arthritis.
Shelly teamed up with Christian Goodman, the owner of Blue Heron Health News, a publishing company that aims to help people to take responsibility for their own health by using natural health alternatives.
To find out more about this program, go to Improve Joint Health at Home
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