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Arthritis is a joint disorder. It causes due to inflammation in the joints and can affect one or more joints at the same time. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which restricts the movements of the joints. Additional symptoms may show up as redness, warmth and swelling. There are more than 100 types of arthritis that are identified and the two most common are listed as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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Types of Arthritis and their causes
Arthritis is very common these days. Arthritis is not a single disease and is often referred to joint pain or joint diseases. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and more related conditions and diseases. Arthritis can affect anyone at any age and it is the leading cause for disability in many countries. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and frequently occurs with age. Top three types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis. Different types of arthritis occur with different reasons. Few of them are listed below:
- Degenerative Arthritis – as and when people get aged, over time their joints lose strength and they face pain in them which can be chronic. Bones are surrounded by cartilage, which is the slick or cushioning surface on the ends of bones. When this cartilage wears away, bone rubs against each other causing pain. This in turn causes swelling and stiffness restricting in the movement of the joints. It is often referred to Osteoarthritis and the risk factors include excess weight, family history, previous injury (an anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, tear) and age.
- Inflammatory Arthritis – Inflammatory arthritis is a group of arthritis disorders distinguished by inflammation of the joints and often other tissues around them and is an autoimmune disease. This type of arthritis includes rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus and more. Humans have an immune system which is very protective. For few reasons, it generates inflammation to prevent infections and diseases. But when this inflammation mistakenly attacks the joints, it causes joint erosion and damages internal organs, eyes and other parts.
- Infectious Arthritis – this type of arthritis causes when inflammation occurs due to attack of bacterial and viral infections on the joints. It can even occur when there is fungal infection. Organisms can infect the joints in cases of food poisoning, contamination of water, spread through STDS, and Hepatitis C. Some of the organisms that can infect the joints are salmonella, shigella, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Early detection of these infections can be treated with the right antibiotics to clear the joint infection or this may lead to severe arthritis and may require surgery or replacements.
- Metabolic Arthritis – Metabolic arthritis is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. Purine is a chemical found in our own cells and in many types of foods we eat. The breakdown of this chemical produces Uric acid in our body. Uric acid is further processed by the kidneys and most of the unwanted uric acid is removed from the body. When this process does not function properly, the uric acid builds up in the blood and forms crystals on the joints eventually causing pain and swelling in the joints. Metabolic arthritis is also known as gout or gouty arthritis which usually affects the big toe. This arthritis is very common in men aged above 40, though anyone else also can be affected.
Prevalence of Arthritis in India
The prevalence of Arthritis in India is higher than many chronic diseases like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Heart Diseases. Arthritis affects more than 180 million people in India and around 14% of the Indian population sees a doctor every year for the joint disease diagnosis. It shows that more women than men in India suffer from Arthritis according to a study. The data was collected for 6.4 million samples of blood tests received for arthritis test in specific laboratories throughout India over 3.5 years from 2014. While radiology tests like X-ray, CT-scan, MRI and DEXA scan remain the main source of diagnosis of bone and joint problems, laboratory tests help in screening and monitoring the progress in the disease.
The most prevalent form of arthritis in India is Osteoarthritis affecting more than 15 million, approximately 22% to 35% of adults annually. Other common arthritis that affects the population is rheumatoid and metabolic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is commonly observed in women and grows with age. Studies have shown that 45% of women have symptoms of arthritis and around 70% of women over the age of 65 suffer from arthritis. 0.5% to 1% of the Indian population is diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis, an autoimmune disease that mainly affects the tissues around the joint. One of the most common causes of inflammatory arthritis is gout (a disease in which defective metabolism of uric acid causes arthritis, especially in the smaller bones of the feet, deposition of chalk-stones, and episodes of acute pain) which is prominent in men more than 40 years of age.
Alarmingly, India will emerge as the capital of Osteoarthritis by 2025 with more than 60 million to be likely affected. Although the word ‘arthritis’ means joint inflammation, the term is used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions affecting the bones and tissues.
How is Arthritis diagnosed?
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints and depending on the type of arthritis the symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased range of motion. Arthritis may be caused if the patient has a family history of arthritis, age factor, if the patient has had any previous joint injury and in most cases obesity. Severe arthritis may affect the hands or legs making mobility difficult along with walking or sitting up straight. In many cases it can get complicated to deforming or twisting the fingers, hands and legs.
Arthritis can be diagnosed with the help of a physical examination supported with laboratory and imaging tests. During the physical examination the doctor may check for any redness or swelling and the temperature of the pain area. The doctor may advice laboratory and imaging tests depending on the type of arthritis he suspects.
- Laboratory tests – Blood tests are non definitive tests and are done as assistance to arrive at a diagnosis. The analysis of different types of body fluids like ESR (Erthrocyte Sedimentation Rate), CRP (C-reactive protein), Rheumatoid factor (Test for Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Uric Acid (Test for Gout) present in the blood, urine and joint fluids help in identifying the type of arthritis the patient may have.
- Imaging tests – with the support of the laboratory tests, an imaging test like CT scan, X-ray, MRI Scan and Ultrasound can help in confirming the type of arthritis the patient is suffering from. An X-ray can show the cartilage loss, bone damage and bone spurs. A CT scan can show both bone and the surrounding soft tissues. An MRI can generate more-detailed cross-sectional images of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. An ultrasound may help in capturing images of soft tissues, cartilage and fluid-containing structures such as bursae. It is also is used to guide the needle placement while taking out fluid from the space between the joints for joint aspirations and injections.
Is arthritis curable?
Causes for arthritis include family history, age factor, joint injury and obesity. With these causes arthritis can be treated to relive symptoms and improve joint functions, but it cannot be cured completely. Arthritis usually returns over time depending on the type of arthritis one suffers from. Arthritis can be treated with combination of different treatments, medications and physiotherapy (physical therapy) or in severe cases surgery for joint replacements may be adviced.
The doctor may prescribe few medications like
- Analgesics – pain relievers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – prescribed to reduce both pain and inflammation
- Counterirritants – rubbing of varieties of creams and ointments that contain menthol or capsaicin may reduce the pain signals from the joint itself.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – they slow or stop the immune system from attacking the joints, often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
- Biologic response modifiers – Usually used in combination with DMARDs, these are genetically engineered drugs that aim at various protein molecules which are involved in the immune response
- Corticosteroids – This includes prednisone and cortisone class of drugs that reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system. They can be taken orally or be injected directly into the painful join
Physiotherapy may be advised in few cases of arthritis as exercise may help in improving the range of movements and strengthen the muscles around the joints. At extreme cases the patient may advised for a surgery like joint repair (smoothening or realigning the joints), joint replacement (removal of the damaged joint and replaced with an artificial joint) and Joint fusion (removal of the ends of the two bones in small joints like wrist, ankle and fingers, which then locks those ends together until healed).
Avail 50% discount for arthritis blood tests in Bangalore
Arthritis can be hereditary and can also be triggered by lifestyle factors such as excessive weight, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, increasing age and profession that can lead to injury and overuse of joints/muscles. Although some causes are unknown in few cases. Early diagnosis and medical treatment of inflammatory arthritis, particularly in the first 12 weeks, can prevent joint and organ damage and improve long-term functioning of the joints.
“Prevention is better than cure.” People very often use this phrase, but how much do they follow it when it comes to their healthcare. If arthritis has been hereditary, or you see any early signs or symptoms of this disease, it is always better to confirm it by seeing your physician or orthopedic physician at the earliest. Early diagnosis is very important to prevent further damage to the joints, because if arthritis is not treated early, it can affect the daily activities of a person by reducing the quality of life and affecting physical abilities. Why do people delay? It is often due to a lack of awareness, hence, it important to know the symptoms of arthritis, and consult a healthcare professional at the earliest. There are several online guides that provide information on as to how can one take tests for arthritis and BookmyScans is one of them.
Bookmyscans has come up with packages for preventive arthritis tests for all at discounted rates. We partner only with diagnostic centers & labs that are approved by AERB and ISO and NABL certified. It is very important to have arthritis blood tests done at approved and certified centers as they assure quality services and the reports are accepted by almost all the major hospitals in Bangalore. With the help of Bookmyscans you can book appointments online at the nearest diagnostic center of your choice for arthritis profile blood tests. It is easy to access and convenient on your pockets. Bookmyscans has served more than 10,000 people helping them save more than 1.2 crores. With Bookmyscans you can definitely save 50% cost on the arthritis test in Bangalore. You can also access the reports online and download them when needed.
Health tip – Additional to preventive tests taken with help of Bookmyscans, healthy living with healthy eating, avoiding stress, getting adequate sleep, right posture, physical activity with regular exercise and fitness like dancing, cycling, walking, swimming and yoga can help you deal with arthritis and improve your health overall. Quit smoking and alcohol intake today as they add to the damage being caused to your body due to arthritis. Maintaining healthy weight also reduces the risk of arthritis.
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