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Report: Self-management, strength training can benefit sufferers of osteoarthritis


January 14th, 2010 by Formosa Medical Travel

Self-management programs and strength training regimens can help patients suffering from the early stages of osteoarthritis, says a new report titled Multidimensional Intervention for Early Osteoarthritis of the Knee.


The study, conducted at the University of Arizona Arthritis center over the course of 24 months, had 273 participants. The trial compared the effects of strength training regimens, self-management programs, and a combination of the two.


All participants were between the ages of 35 and 65, diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and had been sufferers of knee pain for less than five years. The first group of participants underwent a strength training regimen over the course of nine months, focusing on improving muscle strength, range of motion, flexibility, and balance. The second group concentrated on developing long-term exercise habits, with professional education and treatment advice. The third group participated in both strength training and self-management.


201 of the 273 participants completed the full two-year trial. There was little difference in the outcomes of the three groups, but all three showed marked improvement in many categories. Self-reported pain was decreased across the board, and physical function test scores improved for all three groups. The lack of a difference between the three groups suggests “similar benefits for all three over a two-year period,” said Patrick McKnight, lead author of the study.


These results suggest that sufferers of osteoarthritis should make an effort in the early stages of the disease to undergo strength training or some method of self-management program. By taking a proactive approach to the affliction, sufferers of osteoarthritis may be able to delay the need for total joint replacement surgery.



Running shoes could exacerbate osteoarthritis


January 10th, 2010 by Formosa Medical Travel

A study published in the December 2009 issue of PM&R: The journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation concluded that the use of modern running shoes could cause damage to knee, hip, and ankle joints. The study, conducted on 68 healthy adult runners, showed surprising results.


For the study, subjects were observed using a treadmill with a motion analysis system. None of the participants had any history of musculoskeletal injury, and each was in the habit of running 15 miles per week. Each participant was required to run both barefoot and wearing typical running shoes. The results showed that running with shoes may increase the stress on knee joints by up to 38%. “There is an increase in joint torque that may be detrimental,” said D. Casey Kerrigan, MD, the author of the study.


This may serve as a call for shoemakers to redesign their products, making them more safe for runners. The study pointed to the attributes of the shoes as the possible cause of the problem, including elevated heels and raised arches. The added material in running shoes may counteract the body’s natural response to running, in the end doing more harm than good.


The increased stress on knee joints may lead to osteoarthritis if continued over a long period of time, it is theorized. However, Bruce Williams, a spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association, doubts this claim. “It’s much ado about nothing,” said Williams, concluding “there was an increase in joint forces, but that’s it.” The study was not designed to show a link between running shoes and osteoarthritis.



Common misconceptions about total hip and total knee replacement surgery


November 23rd, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee and hip pain, afflicting an estimated 40 million Americans. Also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis can cause the deterioration of both the knee and hip. As the US population continues to age, it is estimated that osteoarthritis will affect as many as one in five Americans by the year 2020.


Although osteoarthritis is not life-threatening, it does have significant effects on the quality of life of those who suffer from it. While non-surgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs – i.e. Naproxen, Aleve, Proxen, etc., and joint fluid injections (such as Hyaluronan, Synvisc, and Synflex) can delay the need for surgery, the only long-term solution is total joint replacement surgery.


There are a number of misconceptions about total hip replacement and total knee replacement surgery. The most common is that total knee replacement and total hip replacement are highly-dangerous procedures. In reality, total knee replacement and total hip replacement surgery have the highest success rates of any elective surgeries performed today.


Currently, the vast majority of knee and hip replacement surgeries are performed in minimally-invasive fashion. This allows for minimal scarring and faster healing times, while maintaining the same success rate. While some believe that minimally-invasive procedures may result in different outcomes, the data show that these procedures are equal to their more-invasive counterparts – the only difference being the size and appearance of the incision.


Another misconception is the idea that joint replacements can only last as long as twenty years. This is not necessarily the case. The reason for this is, of course, that the data being used for this assumption is based on knee and hip replacements that were performed twenty years ago. Research is constantly being done to increase the performance of joint replacement devices, and a great deal of time has gone into developing improved models. New production methods and materials will likely increase the lifetime of hip and knee replacements in the future.



Treatments available for osteoarthritis of the knee


November 18th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Because the cause of osteoarthritis is not known, there is no immediate cure, say experts. The only option to permanently get rid of the disease is by removing it, via total joint replacement. Osteoarthritis can be the direct cause of knee stiffness, knee pain, loss of movement, and inflexibility. There are, however, treatments which can help reduce pain and delay the need for total knee replacement or total hip replacement.


Some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Naproxen – marketed under names such as Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Proxen, and Synflex – can be used in pain reduction and to reduce inflammation in the short term. These drugs can be a relatively safe alternative to surgery, although they are not without their risks.


Some treatments that are growing in popularity are joint fluid therapy and hyaluronan therapy, in which injections are made into the afflicted area to help restore movement and reduce pain. These treatments – which go under a number of names, including Synvisc, Supartz, Hyalgan, Euflexxa, chicken shots, rooster juice, and viscosupplementation – can often delay the need for a knee replacement  by months, or even years. Cortisone shots are also sometimes administered as treatment. However, while some patients experience improvements in their condition, others report little to no benefit.


For younger, more active patients, a procedure known as knee osteotomy is sometimes used to shift the patient’s weight to the non-arthritic side of the knee. This is a less-invasive procedure, which can often delay the need for a total knee replacement for up to ten years.


For many patients, total joint replacement surgery is often the only long-term cure for osteoarthritis. In knee replacement surgery, surgeons replace the weight-bearing portions of the bone with artificial devices. This procedure, developed in the 1960s, has evolved over the years into one of the safest surgeries performed – although complications can occur in a small minority of patients. Knee replacements can last as long as 20 years in many patients, although the life of the device is dependent on many factors, such as the patient’s activity level.


For the millions of Americans suffering from debilitating knee pain and loss of mobility as a result of osteoarthritis, there are treatments. Anti-inflammatory drugs, joint fluid therapy, and knee osteotomy are all options that patients should consider when attempting to reduce knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. However, total knee replacement remains most successful treatment for curing osteoarthritis.



Medical tourism to experience resurgence, says Deloitte


November 11th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

In a new report, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions projects medical tourism to rebound strongly from the effects of the economic recession in coming years.


The report, entitled “Medical Tourism: Update and Implications”, says that while outbound medical travel from the United States fell by nearly 14% between 2007 and 2009 as a result of the recession, it is predicted to show a strong resurgence as economic conditions improve. The number of outbound medical travelers could be as much as 5 million per year by 2017, the report suggests, if the industry continues to grow at the expected rate of 35% per year.


Paul H. Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions,  expects outbound medical tourism to continue its rapid growth despite the efforts at healthcare reform in the United States. “There is nothing in current health reform bills that decelerates the cost of care,” said Keckley, “so that contributes to the appetite that people have.”


Healthcare costs will continue to rise by six percent per year for the next decade, the report says, making medical tourism an increasingly attractive option for the aging US population. With medical tourism “offering savings of up to 70 percent after travel expenses, we anticipate that the industry will recover from the current economic downturn,” said Heckley.  ”Medical tourism represents an important option for patient populations who need care but lack adequate out-of-pocket funds to afford a procedure in the U.S., or those who seek lower prices for purposes of savings.”

Medical tourism represents an important option for patient populations who need care but lack
adequate out-of-pocket funds to afford a procedure in the U.S., or those who seek lower prices
for purposes of savings.


Knee Replacement Alternatives


November 3rd, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Knee Replacement Alternatives

There are a number of alternatives to knee replacement surgery that sufferers of osteoarthritis should consider before getting a total knee replacement. As the cost of knee replacement surgery increases in the United States, many people are exploring new methods for arthritis relief.

 

Most knee replacement alternatives focus on limiting pain, rather than treating the cause. Some options include anti-inflammatory medications, lifestyle changes, and other treatments – which can often reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis, and delay the need for a knee replacement. In the intermediate stages of osteoarthritis, many patients are given joint fluid therapy, also known as “chicken shots” or “rooster juice“.  Chicken shots for knee pain relief are a currently a very popular alternative to total knee replacement surgery.

 

Cortisone shots and Synvisc injections are also often succesful in limiting knee pain in the short term. However, in many cases, patients who are seeking a long-term solution to osteoarthritis should consider surgical treatment.

 

Before getting total knee replacement surgery, consult your doctor about some of these less-expensive alternatives.



Medical Tourism in Taiwan


September 30th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

At Formosa Medical Travel, we work on behalf of patients seeking affordable knee and hip replacement surgery abroad, connecting them with a network of world-class hospitals located in Taiwan. These facilities provide outstanding medical care while offering patients significant savings. We book patients’ surgery, transfer medical records, assist in finding flights and hotels, and provide concierge services to patients in Taiwan. There is no charge for our services.


With medical teams that speak fluent English and are trained and educated in the United States, American patients can have confidence that the quality of healthcare they will receive in Taiwan will meet or exceed that of the United States – at a fraction of the cost.


Formosa Medical Travel specializes in facilitating knee and hip replacement surgery, and nothing else. Since this is our only focus, we are able to provide our patients with a level of service for joint replacement surgery that is unparalleled in medical travel.


Unlike most medical travel facilitators, we do not offer a wide variety of procedures in a dozen different places. We operate in Taiwan, a modern, developed country, and we have close relationships with our network of hospitals and doctors.


Formosa Medical Travel works hard to ensure a comfortable and rewarding medical trip to Taiwan. We make traveling for medical care safe, easy, and affordable. After you get in touch with us via e-mail or phone, we will provide you with the information and guidance you need to choose a hospital and doctor. Then, we’ll assist you in requesting your surgery, transferring medical information, obtaining an evaluation from your medical team, booking an initial consultation, and scheduling your surgery. We will help you book your flight and hotel. When you arrive in Taiwan, we’ll be waiting for you at the airport. All necessary transportation will be arranged. We’ll take care of all the details – from your arrival to your departure.






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