Monday, December 5, 2011

Osteoarthritis and chronic low level inflammation

This is interesting to me.  Research out of Stanford suggests that OA is not solely caused by wear and tear on the joints but instead is linked to inflammation.  This does not surprise me. There is a great podcast that explains it in more detail if you would like to know more.  It honestly makes me want to see a rheumatologist considering how many places I have OA agony. It is back with a vengeance after being pregnant. Your immune system is suppressed while pg and I found that for myself conditions involving inflammation were much better while carrying Ella. My asthma? Non-existent, I even stopped using my control meds, but now, I'm carrying my rescue inhaler again just in case.  My OA in my knee?  Barely felt it, sure there was mechanical dysfunction, but otherwise, it was a welcome break.  I noticed it creeping back in about 6 weeks post and every morning when I get up now I am confronted by stiff hands, knee and back.  Sigh.

This tiny little creature is kicking my ass. I had a hard time getting out of a chair over the weekend.  That was a reality check.  I have a hard time getting down to and then up off of the floor.  Last Friday my knee cracked so loud upon rising that two of the women in the room for my mommy and me class commented on it!  Yeah- it's that loud.  That was also a reality check.  But what to do about it?  The knee is so compromised I fear I'll never be fixable. My old Ortho told my sister just that when she was in for a check of her own pain a couple weeks back. No doubt all the trauma my knee has endured, klutz, surgical and pathological plays a role, but this inflammation cascade is well on it's way.  I have no idea what this means for some one my age. 

Thinking further on this research I wonder if the assumption that it is the excess weight on the joints causing wear and tear causing OA will hold or if the chronic low level inflammation condition that comes with obesity will be shown to play a role as well.  I think maybe yes, as I can't understand why else the OA in my hands could be as bad as it is - no wear and tear there.  I'm tempted to dig out my biochem notes to read up a little on the science of this all. It helps me to understand why and how I am falling apart. 

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