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Biomarker May Lead to Early Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

German researchers recently found that analyzing levels of a certain protein may make it possible to predict the risk of knee and hip joint replacement due to severe osteoarthritis.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg, was published in the August 2009 issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Osteoarthritis, which is also known as degenerative joint disease, is characterized by a breakdown of cartilage in joints. It is the most common type of arthritis. While osteoarthritis can occur in nearly any joint in the body, it is most common in the weight bearing joints of the hips, knees and spine.

For the study, the researchers recruited 912 healthy people from Italy, 60 of whom had severe osteoarthritis that led to a knee or hip replacement between 1990 and 2005.

The researchers found that participants with a high level of a protein called vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) at the start of the study had a much higher likelihood of undergoing hip or knee surgery due to severe osteoarthritis.

This was the first study to find a biomarker that may be able to predict the risk of severe osteoporosis. Researchers hope these findings will help doctors provide early diagnosis for this dangerous and increasingly prevalent disease.

VCAM-1 causes pain and inflammation in the joints and can inflame arteries and may contribute to heart disease. Previous studies have shown that 5-LOXIN, a natural extract from boswellia serrata, inhibits VCAM-1. Taking a supplement that contains 5-LOXIN may provide protection from osteoarthritis with no side effects.

As you age, osteoarthritis becomes more and more of a concern. Diagnosing the disease early can prevent any serious damage. There are also a number of things you can due to avoid the disease altogether. Here are five important steps to take in order to avoid developing this painful condition:

1. Maintain Your Ideal Body Weight

2. Exercise Regularly and Participate in Regular Physical Activity

3. Protect Your Joints

4. Avoid Repetitive Stress on the Joints

5. Avoid Injury to Joints

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