Is Nanotechnology the Answer for Painful Arthritis?

set-a-arthritis-3The 12th of October is marked as the World Arthritis Day, and this year’s theme is quite interesting. The theme for this year’s World Arthritis Day is “It’s in your hands, take action.” This kind of theme might come as a surprise to some as the conditions of arthritis are quite painful and we feel that there’s little in our hands. Though not having a dark sense of humor, there is good sense in this theme. Let us explore what’s actually in our hands and what has science got to offer in terms of the latest treatments for arthritis.

First of all, we all have a vague and general idea as to what arthritis means. Most of us know it as the inflammation of the joints, but arthritis is a term used for more than 100 joint diseases. Arthritis is so old that it might as well be one of the oldest diseases known to mankind.

In our contemporary times, the burden of arthritis has increased so much so that it has not spared young children and has manifested its ugly head in the form of juvenile arthritis. While the World Arthritis Day (WAD) has launched a campaign to make aware the worries of arthritis patients in the form of #WADStory, most of the treatment options for arthritis remain elusive to the knowledge of the populace.

In fact, people know so little about arthritis that they even resort to alternative forms of medicine that yields little result and takes a toll on the general health of the patient by pumping in steroids and other harmful substances.

To begin with, let us know about the etiology of arthritis. Basically, it can affect multiple joints of the body and make mobility a premium. The onset of arthritis can be over a period of time or sudden. It has no distinction of age, or gender. It occurs when the cartilage (the connecting tissue between the joints) wears off.

Normal wear and tear, infection, family history, autoimmune disorders, and a variety of causes affect the synovium in the joints and progresses to damage the joints totally. Though scientists have identified certain genetic markers that cause autoimmune form of arthritis called Rheumatoid Arthritis, the exact causes are still unknown.

Symptoms:
They range from stiffness of the joints (especially early in the morning), swelling of the joints, redness of the skin, decreased range of motion, and in severe cases of arthritis, deformity of the joints.

Diagnosis:
It can be performed by physical examination, X-ray, MRI, CT-scan, and a blood test called rheumatoid factor. The main goal of treatment till now has been to alleviate the patient from the symptoms, and prevent further damage of the joints.

Treatment:
Treatment is done by either surgery or medication. Surgery involves joint replacement surgery, or joint fusion. Medication involves:
Analgesics for pain management.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for reducing inflammation.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for autoimmune diseases.
Nutritional supplements like Glucosamine Chondroitin Sulfate to prevent degeneration of cartilage.

Now, let’s move onto the theme of this year’s World Arthritis Day. The theme goes with the slogan “It’s in your hands, take action.” Though this slogan does not mean that the individual has the wherewithal to get his/her arthritis cured, it does present an opportunity for people to share personal stories and gain inspiration to live with perennial musculoskeletal diseases. This is more of an emotional and psychological succor. Let us look at the scientific and technological side of the story to know what’s rocking!

Nanotechnology has been sweeping the world with its numerous possibilities including the world of good it promises to do to the medical world. From treating cancers to better diagnosis to better administration of medication, nanotechnology is about to revolutionize many treatments including that for arthritis.

Nanotechnology offers newer ways to identify osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis earlier, and provide aggressive treatment that starts acting right at the molecular level. The efficacy of nanotechnology is so high that it can deliver medication to the exact joint and can reduce the side effects of the medication significantly.

Due to the presence of no effective cure, treatment is mainly restricted to painkillers and steroids. Even the diagnostics available to detect arthritis early on have not evolved. In this context, nanotechnology offers superb imaging techniques that can visualize the insides of joints, cartilage, and synovium using In vivo molecular imaging. These techniques can help diagnose normal vs. abnormal tissues in a more accurate manner.

In case of therapies for arthritis, the drug delivery is much more accurate and medication reaches the tissues much more quickly. This implies that there is no need for heavy medication, and no healthy tissue is touched. Folate based nano bio-devices have proved to be effective for diagnosis therapy and treating inflammatory diseases.

The greatness of this technology is that nano particles have unique properties and they can either be designed or synthesized for specific treatments. The future holds a lot of promise and nanotechnology can one day put an end to the suffering of a lot of patients with many diseases including arthritis.

If you need additional guidance from professionals, you can get in touch with an expert at Apollo Hospitals to learn more how you can effectively quit the habit now.

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