FROM OUR EXPERTS
When a patient presents to his or her general practitioner (GP) with a knee injury, the doctor relies on the patient's history (what happened) and a physical exam (clinical tests) to figure out what's wrong. Is there swelling in the joint? Is there damage inside the joint? Can a physician even tell these things with a history and physical exam (H&PE)? When are additional tests such as X-rays or MRIs needed? Researchers from the Netherlands take on these questions in a study of 134 patients with a traumatic knee injury. Most (but not all) injuries were sports-related. Each patient was questioned about their symptoms and then examined by a physical therapist using a standard series of tests for the knee. Tests included range-of-motion, palpation, stability, and meniscal (knee cartilage) tests. Three special tests were done to look for effusion (swelling). The first was palpation of the popliteal fossa (back of the knee). The second was a palpatory test called the minor effusion test ....
RF. ESR. Anti-CCP. ANA. CPR. No, these aren’t codes used by secret agents to communicate their missions. They’re names of blood tests used in diagnosing and managing rheumatoid arthritis. When you’re new to this disease, they can seem as mysterious and impenetrable as a secret language. What do they measure? What do the numbers mean? What’s normal, what isn’t? This post is all about demystifying RA blood tests .
RA Blood Tests
There are a number of blood tests that can be used when doctors are trying to find out if you have RA, as well as indicators of how the disease is managed. Some of the most common blood tests are:
Rheumatoid Factor (RF) . RF is a type of antibody that may be associated with inflammation. This is usually one of the first tests your family doctor will order if they suspect you might have inflammatory arthritis. However, it’s important to know that 20-30 percent of people with RA are negative for RF (also called seron...
In early June, and for weeks since, news outlets have been writing about a study showing that responsibly drinking five or more servings of wine or other alcohol a week cuts the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by up to 50% . Those who drank 1-4 drinks per week cut their risk by about 20%. The researchers believe this is because alcohol is a mild anti-inflammatory. The study was performed by researchers at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and was published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
The data consisted of two studies in Sweden and Denmark and included 2,750 men and women, 1,650 of whom had rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers found that those who drank regularly, meaning more than three drinks per week, were less likely to develop RA. The effect appeared to be greater for smokers with genetic risk factors for developin...
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