Health & Bone Density:
Achieving Easy Mobility for a Lifetime
Anyone with severe arthritis-or who has broken a major bone like a hip-will say it is excruciatingly painful and life-changing. Tasks that were once easy become almost impossible, or sometimes even dangerous, to attempt again.
Or how about the different types of arthritis? There are more than 100 different conditions related to arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common form of arthritis pain in the United States is osteoarthritis
pain. The next most common forms of arthritis in the United States are gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. The word "arthritis" basically means "joint inflammation," and inflammation (or swelling) causes the pain in most forms of arthritis.
In order to diagnose which form of arthritis you have, the doctor may ask for a blood test. The blood test will determine if you carry the blood markers indicative of arthritis, such as certain antibodies and inflammation. For example, whenever there is inflammation in your body, levels of C-reactive protein in your blood will increase. Therefore, when you are tested for arthritis, you may be tested for the levels of C-reactive protein in your blood.
Bone density testing can be another helpful tool in measuring joint and bone health. Also known as a densitometry or DXA scan, a bone density test uses X-rays to determine how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are present in a segment of bone. This test can help a doctor determine the exact level of risk a patient has for breaking bones or developing osteoarthritis, a condition that causes bone tissue to thin and density to decrease.
Joint and bone health go hand in hand, particularly because the joints, which allow certain parts of the body - the fingers, spine, hips, etc. - to move freely, are subjected to high levels of wear and tear. Over time, the cartilage that lines joints can deteriorate and lead to the onset of arthritis. Additionally, wear and tear can make the joints more susceptible to bone density issues and breakage.