An analysis done by SRL Diagnostics on tests for Arthritis done in its laboratories revealed that more women than men in India are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The analysis also revealed that high ESR and CRP levels prescribed in patients of arthritis and, indicative of persistent inflammation of joints, were more commonly found in the East zone, followed by the North zone while a high Uric Acid levels pointing towards Gout were seen more in the North zone followed by the East zone.
The data is based on more than 6.4 million samples received for Arthritis (bone health) testing over the last 3.5 years since January 2014 at SRL Laboratories across India.
Arthritis affects more than 180 million people in India - prevalence higher than many well-known diseases such as diabetes, AIDS and cancer. Around 14% of the Indian population seeks a doctor's help every year for this joint disease.
While the mainstay of diagnostics in bone and joint disorders is Radiology e.g. X-ray, CT-scan, MRI and DEXA scan, laboratory tests are used for screening or for monitoring the progress of the disease.
Blood tests are done as aids to arrive at a diagnosis and are not definitive in diagnosing arthritis.
- Inflammation Tests
- ESR (Erthrocyte Sedimentation Rate)
- CRP (C-reactive protein)
- Test for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Rheumatoid factor
- Test for Gout
- Uric Acid
The most prevalent form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis has been affecting 15 million adults annually with a prevalence ranging 22% to 39% in India. Other common joint conditions affecting Indians are gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is more commonly observed in women and more prevalent with ageing. Studies have observed that nearly 45% of women over the age of 65 years have symptoms while radiological evidence is found in 70% of those over 65 years.
An autoimmune disease, this mainly affects tissues around the joints. Most frequent in adults, it afflicts between 0.5%-1% of the population in India. Women are three to four times more frequently affected than men. Onset generally occurs in the 35-55 year age group.
One of the most common causes of inflammatory arthritis, Gout is three to four times more common in men and the obese aged 50 years or above.
- Abnormal ESR and CRP levels (indicative of persistent inflammation of joints) were more commonly seen in the East zone, where lab tests showed higher abnormal values for CRP (61.23 %), ESR (53.78 %) and RF (14.34%) compared to other parts of the country.
- Abnormal Uric Acid levels indicating Gout were seen more commonly in the North zone (23.19%) followed by the East.
- ESR (56.71%, 61-85 age group), CRP (80.13%, 85+ years), RF (12.77%, 61-85 years) and UA (34.76%, 85+ years) levels were higher in people in their forties onwards.
Dr Avinash Phadke, President - Technology & Mentor (Clinical Pathology), SRL Diagnostics, said, "Although the word 'arthritis' means joint inflammation, the term is used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions affecting the bones and tissues.
"Alarmingly, India will emerge as the capital of Osteoarthritis by 2025 with more than 60 million to be likely affected. Ironically, one of the main reasons is the increasing longevity of India's population, another being fast-rising obesity.
"Early signs should not be ignored; early diagnosis and treatment can save the joints. Maintaining joint health lifelong should be a goal of everyone's life."