Category Archives: Arthritis

Gout a Risk Factor for Erectile Dysfunction

This week is designated Men’s Heath Week and our posts have addressed male health topics. Today’s post reviews a research study on the relationship between gout and erectile dysfunction (ED).

Gout is the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis among U.S. adults. According to statistics from the Arthritis Foundation, about 4% of U.S. adults suffer from gout. It currently affects over 8 million individuals. It is much more common in men, with men three times more likely than women to develop gout.

A research group in Taiwan initiated a longitudinal cohort study to examine the relationship between gout and subsequent development of erectile dysfunction in men. The study enrolled over 19,000 men, ages 18-64, who were newly diagnosed with gout. The control group included over 77,000 men without gout. The researchers also tracked comorbid risk factors such as chronic renal risk failure, congestive heart failure, depression, diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease.

The researchers discovered that the participants with gout had a 1.21-fold greater risk of developing ED, compared to those without gout. Worse, subjects that had gout and one of the comorbid risk factors had more than a 2-fold increased risk of developing ED, compared to those without gout or cormorbid risk factors.

This is an important study showing that gout is a significant risk factor in the development of ED in men. Gout is a pro-inflammatory condition, and as seen in other research pro-inflammatory conditions often contribute to ED.

While this study was among Asian males, there is reason to believe the results would be similar in a more diverse population such as seen in the U.S. Consideration of the higher risk of ED in those diagnosed with gout may provide an extra incentive to men to have their gout treated and managed effectively.

“Gout, a physician’s name for the rheumatism of a rich patient.” –¬† Ambrose Bierce

(Source- The Journal of Rheumatology 2015; 42:9)

This blog is a review of published and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

 

Sesame Seeds May Help Knee Arthritis

In recognition of Arthritis Awareness Month, today’s post reviews research from Iran that shows that supplementation with sesame seeds may help with the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Sesame can grow in areas where it is difficult to propagate other crops. These include areas where drought and high heat are common. Among the largest producers of sesame are Tanzania, Myanmar and India. Japan is the largest importer of sesame.

Researchers studied 50 patients with arthritis of the knee, using two different screening tools. The subjects in the treatment group ate 40 grams of sesame seeds daily, which had been ground into a powder. The control group was not treated with sesame but instead were treated with acetaminophen and glucosamine only.

Both groups in the study completed two different clinical assessment tools at the start of the study, and then again after two months. At the end of the two month trial the sesame treatment group showed clinical improvements in the signs and symptoms of knee arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a significant medical problem worldwide, affecting millions. Statistics from the CDC indicate nearly a quarter of American adults have been diagnosed with arthritis. The medical costs associated with arthritis are substantial. It is estimated that these costs may approach $140 billion annually. Unfortunately many of the medications typically used to treat osteoarthritis have significant side effects, such as increasing the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and are potentially damaging to the liver and kidneys.

It should be noted that sesame seeds and oil are a significant allergen to some people, and that there is some cross-reactivity with those who have peanut or tree-nut allergies.

This pilot study indicates promise for the use of sesame seeds in treatment for osteoarthritis.

“I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”– Jack Benny

(Source- International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases 2013, 16)

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

Soda May Cause Worsening of Osteoarthritis in Men

In a study published in the BMJ Open, researchers found that the consumption of soft drinks may be associated with an increased progression of osteoarthritis (OA)  of the knees in men. Researchers examined data from the Osteoarthritis initiative, which was started in 2002 by the National Institutes of Health.

Data from over 2000 participants was examined. X-rays of the knees were taken to evaluate the joint space narrowing in patients, over a course of four years.

Results of the study showed that increased soft drink intake was associated with an increasing rate of OA progression in the knees of men. Interestingly, this relationship did not hold for women. The research group also looked at fruit juice intake and OA progression, and no association was found.

Diet sodas were not examined as part of this particular study. It would be helpful to know if diet sodas were better, worse or the same relative to regular soda. It would also be helpful to know if discontinuation of soda led to improving osteoarthritis status. These may be areas of further research. In any case, this study provides yet another reason to cut back or eliminate sodas entirely, particularly in men.

(Source- BMJ Open 2013; 3: e002993)

This bog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

Acupuncture for Arthritic Knee Pain

May is designated Arthritis Awareness Month, and in recognition of this several posts will review topics related to arthritis. In a systematic review published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, researchers found acupuncture to be effective in reducing knee pain from osteoarthritis. Researchers looked at several published studies to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture to other treatments for arthritic knee pain.

The research group, based in the UK, reviewed a total of 156 published trials. In addition to acupuncture, they reviewed other treatment modalities such as aerobic exercise, muscle-strengthening exercise, heat treatment, manual therapy, laser/light therapy, Tai Chi, TENS, and weight loss, among others. The purpose of the review was to compare acupuncture with alternative treatments that a primary care physician might typically prescribe for osteoarthritic knee pain.

The researchers found that several treatment modalities including acupuncture, TENS, aerobic exercise, and muscle strengthening exercise all showed some benefit when compared to “standard care”. Standard care in this instance would include analgesic pain medications and general exercise advice. In turn, when the other treatment modalities were compared to acupuncture, acupuncture was statistically superior in reducing knee pain compared to weight loss, muscle-strengthening exercises, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, and pulsed electromagnetic fields.

It is important to note that when the research group specifically looked at what they described as “better quality studies” acupuncture again showed a statistically significant reduction in knee pain when compared to standard of care. Also, when the better quality studies were considered, acupuncture was better at relieving knee pain when treatment modalities such as muscle strengthening exercise, weight loss and aerobic exercise were compared. 

This thorough review paper again highlights the benefits of acupuncture, in this case for arthritic knee pain. Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option for osteoarthritic knee pain.

(Source- Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 21 (2013))

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

 

 

Curcumin For Knee Arthritis

May is recognized as Arthritis Awareness Month and we will have several posts on arthritis during the month of May.

Curcumin is a spice that has been used since ancient times, often as a coloring agent in Asian foods. Curcumin is an active ingredient of the Asian spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric is a widely used spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking and is grown in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and elsewhere. Turmeric is also used in Ayurvedic Medicine, and is currently being studied in Western Medicine for possible uses. Curcumin has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There has been a lot of interest in this spice due to its potential health benefits.

A research group in Thailand recently completed a study of the efficacy of an extract of curcuma domestica in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. A total of 367 subjects enrolled in the study. The participants in the study were primarily female (90%), with a mean age of 60 years. The group receiving the curcuma extract was compared to a similar group which instead received ibuprofen for the knee pain. 

The enrollees in the study were assessed at baseline, at 2 weeks, and at 4 weeks, which was the end of the study. Patients were assessed via a functional pain scale, and a six-minute walk test.

At the end of the four-week study the extract of curcuma domestica was found to be as effective as ibuprofen. The curcuma was generally well tolerated, with few side effects.

(Source- Clinical Interventions in Aging 2014:9)

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone.. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.

 

Swimming and Cycling Help With Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

swimming4

In honor of the Rio Olympics today’s post will examine research on the benefits of swimming or cycling on the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that leads to damage of the underlying bone and cartilage. It is very common, and it is estimated that osteoarthritis affects approximately 30 million in the U.S. and perhaps 250 million worldwide. Symptoms of osteoarthritis often progress leading to increasing joint pain and decreased function.

A group of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin enrolled a group of 48 participants into the study, including both men and women, with an average age of about 60 years. Subjects had mild to moderate signs of osteoarthritis on x-ray, and in addition were symptomatic with joint pain and decreased function.

Subjects were randomized to a swimming group or a cycling group. They started with 20-30 minutes of exercise 3 days/week at an exercise intensity of 40-50% of heart rate reserve. As fitness improved, participants moved to a goal of 40-50 minutes of exercise/day, 3 days/week at 60-70% of reserve. Swimmers used the breaststroke, freestyle or a combination of the two strokes, while the cyclists used a stationary bike. Both swimming and cycling groups were followed for 12 weeks.

Participants were tested upon entry into the study, and again after 12 weeks of either cycling or swimming. Participants in both the swimming and cycling groups showed reductions in joint pain and stiffness, with improvements in function. There was also significant improvement in a six-minute walk test in both groups. Body mass, as well as hip and waist circumference decreased in both swimmers and cyclists.

This study is important in that it may be the first to look at swimming (not water aerobics) as an intervention for osteoarthritis symptoms. The active cycling control group showed similar improvements to the swimming group, thus giving another possible treatment method for patients with osteoarthritis. It would be interesting to see if the improvement in function and decreases in joint pain would continue if the swimming or cycling continued beyond 12 weeks. Swimming and cycling are low risk activities that may yield large benefits for those suffering with osteoarthritis.

 (Source- The Journal of Rheumatology 2016; 43:3)

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.