Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint(s) causing pain, swelling and stiffness. The general term arthritis includes over 100 kinds of diseases.
In many forms of arthritis, injury is caused by the uncontrolled inflammation of autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues. Common kinds of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Synovial fluid tests are old-fashioned. Tapping a joint is therapeutic in septic, crystalline, or traumatic arthritis, or when there is a large effusion. Healthy synovial fluid contains fewer than 200 cells/mcL, mostly lymphs. Regardless of the total white count, more than 90% polys strongly suggests septic (bacterial) arthritis. Red blood cells in the synovial fluid suggests a traumatic tap. Crystals found with polys in synovial fluid may establish the diagnosis of gout.
Rheumatoid factor is any autoantibody or autoantibodies (IgM, IgG, or IgA) against the Fc portion of slightly altered IgG. The principal indication for ordering a serum "rheumatoid factor" is suspected adult rheumatoid arthritis. The majority of adults with rheumatoid arthritis will have significant titers of rheumatoid factor (1:160 or above) in their serum. However, titers correlate only slightly with severity of the disease, and do not usually drop in response to treatment.
Erythocyte Sedimentation Rate, ESR or Sed Rate, measures how fast red blood cells settle in the bottom of the tube. Somehow this indicates how much inflammation is present in your body (itÕs not very scientific). Inflammation is usually present in inflammatory arthritis, but it is also present in literally thousands of other conditions. Sometimes, the common cold can cause some inflammation.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) detects inflammation in the body, although a person can have severe arthritis with a normal CRP.
Antinuclear Antibodies, ANA, is often ordered to rule out Lupus. Almost all people with Systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus) develop these antibodies, and a negative test result essentially rules out a lupus diagnosis. However, a positive result does not always mean lupus. Rheumatoid arthritis. Sjogrens syndrome, liver disease, scleroderma and other conditions may be associated with an elevated ANA.
HLA-B27 typing helps distinguish spondylarthropathies from other types of arthritis. This genetic marker is present in the blood of 90% of people with a spondylarthropathy diagnosis and 5-8% of the general population. A positive result does not indicate a certain diagnosis.
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