Recently Diagnosed With Arthritis? Here's What You Should Know

Arththis, also known as joint inflammation, is the leading cause of work disability in the United States. The CDC estimates that more than 24% of adult Americans struggle with its symptoms daily. Fortunately, several clinical trials are looking into innovative ways of treating patients who suffer from this condition. Before we dive into how to apply for a clinical study, here is some important information you should know about this disease:

What Are The Most Common Variations?

Studies show that there are more than 100 forms of Arthritis, but the most frequent ones are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout Arthritis, and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – Osteoarthritis commonly develops in adults over 50 and targets the hands, hips, and knees. This form of Arthritis is caused by the "wearing down" of cartilage. The more this protective tissue breaks down, the more the pain and limited mobility increase.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its cartilage, causing inflammation and pain in joints of the entire body. Different from Osteoarthritis, this form of the condition can show signs in people as young as 30 years old.
  • Gout Arthritis - This type of Arthritis is characterized by intense pain and redness in the joint areas. In these cases, excess uric acid crystallizes and gets deposited in the joints, causing acute pain. However, its symptoms can be managed with a healthy lifestyle and proper medication.
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – Juvenile Arthritis similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis, as the body also attacks its own cartilage. Although specialties still do not have a concrete answer to what causes this form of Arthritis, studies have shown that both heredity and environmental factors seem to play a role. Unlike the other kinds of joint inflammation, this form has severe consequences if left untreated, including affected, growth, mobility difficulty, cataracts, glaucomas, and even blindness.

What Are The Typical Treatments?

Since there are no cures for Arthritis, most treatments aim to provide pain relief and improve joint mobility. Forms of treatment include physical therapy, regular exercise, a nutrient-rich diet, medications and other forms of supplements.

In patients with arthritis, the goal of physical therapy will be to help improve general posture as well as balance and joint mobility. In order to alleviate the patient's stiffness and pain, the practitioner may recommend that the patient engage in specific stretching, strength exercises, and even massages.

As for diet adjustments, people with Arthritis are strongly advised to avoid foods that cause inflammation in the body such as refined carbohydrates, alcohol, ultra-processed foods, and more. Fish and vegetables, both of which are high in carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids, are examples of some of the foods that are highly recommended for patients with Arthritis to consume.

Depending on the severity of the case, doctors might recommend surgery. The procedures may be minimally invasive such as arthroscopy - where surgeons will remove damaged cartilage through a small incision, or a total joint replacement, where the damaged joint tissue will be replaced with a prosthetic.

Finding a Clinical Trial for Arthritis

Participating in a clinical trial can occur in various ways. The volunteer may permit the researchers to access your medical record for research purposes, participate by providing blood or tissue samples to be studied, or even take a new drug or supplement.

Although there are risks in a trial for both Arthritis and other diseases, they are essential and necessary for medical advances in the search for treatments and possible cures. An example was the trials for TNF, which is now considered a universal and effective protocol for combating pain caused by rheumatoid Arthritis.

One of the most common ways to find trials is through official medical websites such as T or The Mayo Clinic. Your physician may also know about a few trials in your area, and can advise you whether participating in one is a good option for you.

However, it is vital that regardless of the trial you apply for, you discuss it with your doctor first to see if they agree with this course of treatment or not. Your trusted medical professional will also be able to evaluate if this trial you apply for is legitimate. Once you are sure it is valid, you can start your application process.

Most trials first ask for a medical history and personal information that will provide them with some context to see if the patient fits the subject matter criteria. Those who fit that pattern will be called to a second in-person screening, where they will go through tests to determine if they got accepted or not.

Once the patient has been approved, they will sign a Clinical Trial Agreement, which is a document that outlines all the risks involved, benefits that will be provided, and the patient's responsibilities. If you have the opportunity of getting a lawyer to review this with you, you have a great understanding of the situation.

After signing this document, the patient will receive instructions on what to do before eating again with the clinical trial staff. It is crucial that you strictly follow the rules of the trial so you do not risk affecting the trial's results.

Interested in joining a trial? Find out if you qualify today!

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