Is arthritis the new public health concern?

SRL Diagnostics, India s leading global diagnostic chain recently released a three year long pan India data mining survey (2012 2014) on rheumatoid arthritis. The data by SRL showed that out of the total samples tested, 21.74% showed presence of Anti-nuclear antibodies which means that their immune system may be predisposed to cause inflammation against their own body tissues. As per arthritis-India, arthritis affects approximately 15% people i.e. 18 crore people in India in some form or the other. Of these around 1 crore suffers from rheumatoid arthritis alone. This prevalence is higher than many well-known diseases such as diabetes

Worldwide around 10-12% of people have OA, around 1% RA, around 1% gout, and the other subtypes of OA comprise another 2%. RA is more prevalent in females than in males, but in case of gout it is the other way round. According to WHO, the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis varies between 0.3% and 1% and is more common in women and in developed countries. Also, Within 10 years of onset, at least 50% of patients in developed countries are unable to perform a full-time job. It tends to strike during the most productive years of adulthood, between the ages of 20 and 40, and is a chronic disabling condition often causing pain and deformity. (Read: Are you at risk of suffering from osteoporosis?)

As per the analysis by SRL, out of 9855 tests performed for arthritis pan India over the last 3years,it was observed that 10.14% of the samples showed positivity forRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) whereas the remaining 89.86% samples were negative for Rheumatoid Factor (RF), signifying at least 1 in ten cases might have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Furthermore, high uric acid levels were reported in 11.92% of the total samples. Also elevated CRP levels were reported in a notably greater proportion of the total samples tested (43.4%) signifying an underlying ongoing inflammationin the patients. (Read: Diet tips to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis)

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Dr Leena Chatterjee, Director - Fortis SRL Labs & SRL Strategic Initiatives says, 'Osteoarthtis can easily be diagnosed by clinicians by using advanced radiology tests. However, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) has been a puzzling disease and since decades doctors could do little about it. But now due to newer diagnostic tests and advances in treatment in preventing joint damage, it has become highlymanageable. The average age of onset of RA is 40 to 60, yet it can strike any time, from kids to 80-year olds'

Autoimmune arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is common in India, as per this analysis conducted by SRL Diagnostics. The foremost clinical diagnostics company in the country found that at least 10% of the patient samples they received for arthritis related testing, might have had RA. Typically, arthritis as a disease is of three main clinical types called osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout. Of these, OA is the more common and predominant type. OA is more of a mechanical damage that occurs at the level of the joint due to injury to the joint over a period of months of years, the joint cartilage undergoes attrition. The knee and the hip joint are the most commonly affected joints in OA. On the other Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease wherein an individual s own immune system attacks the joint cartilages and membranes. The third most common type is Gout. It is a painful condition that occurs when the body cannot eliminate a natural substance called uric acid. The excess uric acid forms needle-like crystals in the joints that cause intense inflammation. Gout most often affects the big toe, knee, and wrist joints. (Read: World Osteoporosis Day: Why are women more prone to osteoporosis?)

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