May is national arthritis awareness month.
Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain. It affects the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints. The prevalence of this condition increases with age and is higher among women than men in every age group. According to CDC reports, by the year 2030, an estimated 67 million (25% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have clinically-diagnosed arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation observes national arthritis awareness month with the aim of promoting awareness of the condition and the issues involved with it as well as to raise funds for research. Arthritis Awareness Month is also the time to educate people about the benefits of physical activity to slow the progression of symptoms, ease pain, and improve mobility, health and overall wellbeing.
There are different types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout. Diagnosis is the first step towards successful treatment. Diagnostic tests for the condition include-
- Blood tests
- MRI scan
- CT scan
- Urine test
Blood tests can even provide an earlier warning against this condition. Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have identified a biomarker for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis that could lead to a blood test that could diagnose these arthritis types. Different citrullinated proteins (CPs) in their blood were combined to distinguish between the different forms of early-stage arthritis. The researchers developed an algorithm and found that a single blood test could potentially detect and discriminate between the major types of arthritis during the early stage, before joint damage occurs. The study was published in the March 2015 issue of Scientific Reports. Arthritis Awareness Month will strive to promote such research.
All through May, ‘Walk to Cure Arthritis” events will take place across the nation. Those interested in participating in this walk can register at www.walktocurearthritis.org