Rheumatoid arthritis severity similar in both sexes

While women with rheumatoid arthritis still outnumber men, the results of a recent French study indicate that gender has little effect on the severity of the disease. Nonetheless, women more frequently undergo joint surgery.

In a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, Dr. Laure Gossec, of Hospital Cochin, in Paris, and colleagues compared 133 male rheumatoid arthritis patients with 133 female patients with the same disease duration, about seven years.

The team collected data on demographic factors, patterns of joint involvement, range of symptoms, medical treatment, and joint surgery. Also, they obtained biological measures, genetic information, X-rays of the hands and feet, and health assessment questionnaire results.

Women experienced sicca syndrome — dryness of the eyes and mouth — more frequently than men (35 percent versus 16 percent, respectively). The authors observed no other differences in other arthritis-related symptoms, and health assessment questionnaire scores were comparable between men and women.

Men and women did not differ in terms of genetic profile distributions. At least one disease-associated gene was identified in 72.0 percent of men and 70.7 percent of women. However, 21 percent of women had two disease-associated genes, compared with 11 percent of men.

There were no other differences between the sexes in clinical, biological, or radiological indicators.

Compared with men, women have prescribed significantly more disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD). The average number of DMARD used was 3.3 and 2.8 for women and men, respectively. Overall, 43.6 percent of women received more than three DMARDs during follow-up, compared with 32.3 percent of men. Corticosteroid drug use did not differ between men and women.

Concerning surgery, there was no difference in the number of operations to remove the joint lining or for large-joint replacement, Gossec’s team reports. However, women underwent more fusion and replacement surgeries on smaller joints.

The investigators say the surgery findings are “interesting,” given the lack of difference between men and women on X-ray findings. Perhaps, they suggest, rheumatoid joint destruction is more disabling in women, leading to more surgery.

Foot Care and Arthritis

Caring for your feet is as important as any other part of your body to achieve that holistic healthy look, says Bindiya Darshan.

One should not forget about looking after their feet because they are hidden, they need regular care not only to make them look good but also to avoid crippling conditions like corus and callouses which can lead to painful feet.

Besides, the strain of tired and aching feet will adversely affect even the most beautiful face. It will also cause a loss of balance while walking and promote tension and irritability.

Like the hands, the feet also should be kept in good shape with a few excersises.

Exercise for the Feet

A useful exercise for the feet is to arch the ankles, bend the toes and flex the whole foot first thing in the morning. Feet that are sore and swollen after a long day should be relaxed by placing them higher than the head and gently massaging them with some olive oil. An ancient remedy for the tired feet is to soak the feet alternatively in hot and cold water. Soaking the feet in warm water to which epsom salt or special foot salts (available in the market) have been added can be very soothing. To avoid fungal or bacterial infections, wash your feet in warm water and be sure to dry between the toes using talcum powder.

Fresh Feet

To keep the feet smelling fresh, a deodorizing talcum powder should be applied each morning after washing. Avoid wearing plastic or vinyl shoes as they do not allow the feet to breathe freely. The toe nails should be given as much attention as the nails of the hands. An orange stick tipped with cotton wool should be used to clean around the nails. Particular attention should be paid to the sides of the nails where dirt tends to collect.

Correct Footwear

Next come the shoes. When buying shoes, look for fit and comfort just as much as fancy design. Ill fitting footwear can cause corns caused by friction when the bony parts of your feet rub against your shoes. Shoes should always be comfortable to your wider and longer feet.

Make sure that your heel fits snugly in each shoe and does not slip out of the back while walking. Walking, dancing, swimming and cycling are good exercises to develop leg muscles. Dry skin can cause itching and burning of the feet so rub a thin coat of skin lotion, cream or petroleum jelly on the affected areas. The heels should be made wet throughly and then it should be rubbed with two tablespoon of ground nut mixed with a tablespoon of salt. After a few minutes they should be rinsed and sesame oil mixed with a few drops of vinegar should be applied.

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