What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an elusive medical condition. Arthritis usually refers to joint pain or joint disease.
There are many different types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis does not discriminate but can occur in people of all ages, sexes, and races.
Common joint symptoms associated with arthritis include swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased the range of motion in the affected joint. The symptoms can sometimes be visible such as with knobby finger joints but most times can only be confirmed with an X-ray of the pained joint.
Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints and a common form of arthritis. In a normal joint, cartilage covers each end of the bone providing a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion. The cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones in this movement.
In osteoarthritis the cartilage wears away causing the bone to rub against bone, triggering pain, swelling and problems when moving the joint. Osteoarthritis tends to worsen over time.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem Cells are located throughout the adult body in places such as fat tissue, blood or bone marrow. Stem cells are the basic building block of all human tissue. Think of a stem cell as a built-in repair kit regenerating cells damaged by disease, injury and everyday wear, and tear.
What makes stem cells the repair kit of the body is their ability to divide and duplicate themselves. Their unique feature is that they can also develop into different type of cells, they don’t have to duplicate into another stem cell.
A stem cell itself does not serve the body in any way, the ability of the stem cell to develop into a specialized cell such as cartilage cell or bone cell makes this cell extraordinary. Stem cells are used by the body to replace diseased cells with new healthy cells.
How Do Stem Cells Help Arthritis?
There are many things that can be done to preserve joint function, mobility and quality of life for arthritic patients. One of the newer procedures being tested in the medical community is the use of stem cells.
Stem cells is a minimally invasive procedure that has the potential to decrease the inflammation, halt the progression of the damage and repair the joint cartilage by your body producing new cells needed for the repair.
Treatment consists of stem cells being harvested from the patient and then being applied during surgery or delivered to the joint through an injection. The stem cells will stimulate new cells to be formed. The injection of the stem cells has been shown to result in pain relief and improvement in function or quality of life. More research is being done daily on the use of stem cells to help alleviate arthritic symptoms.