Is this an unknown cause of the arthritis epidemic? 22



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Australians who were exposed to textile dust throughout their workings lives could be twice as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Despite these shocking findings, there is some good news for arthritis sufferers.

A journal for Rheumatic Diseases revealed that women exposed to dust, silica and other chemicals often used in industrial textiles were more likely to develop arthritis in later life. Their blood samples showed ACPA antibodies, which increase the progression of arthritis.

Researchers say the risks involved with textile dusts differs depending on the dyes, flame retardants and water repellants used. However, the correlation between occupational dust and arthritis could be as strong as the link between arthritis and smoking.

The unique shape of textile fibres gives them a capacity to penetrate deep into our bodies, where they could increase inflammation and lead to arthritis. Researchers also theorised that different types of bacteria could inhabit textile dust, leading to respiratory disease.

“From a public health perspective, our results imply that efforts should be considered to reduce the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing occupational exposure to textile dust”, the researchers explained.

The good news is that arthritis is an area of continued health research. Arthritis Australia will soon release funding to a number of research programs for 2016.

The work done by Arthritis Australia will aim to, “improve quality of life for patients with musculoskeletal disease or advance knowledge in clinical areas where there is therapeutic uncertainty”.

Do you suffer from arthritis? Is somebody you know living with the condition? How do you cope with symptoms and treatment?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Starts at 60 – In your article you say “Researchers also theorised that different types of bacteria could inhibit textile dust, leading to respiratory disease.” I think you will find that “inhibit” is incorrect and you should have said “inhabit”.

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  2. I have had both my knees replaced twice, it is in my spine, my right foot, my back and neck, the way I cope is keep moving and don’t give in to the disease, I take some drugs when I am in bad pain but keep going no matter what

  3. My wife worked for Macquarie Wosteds for many years from leaving school until the early 80’s and suffers with arthritis, that’s interesting to read there may be a link.

  4. I have been coping with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) now for almost 18 months…RA is not the same as arthritis, which is a natural wearing out of the joints…its good that research is ongoing because its an awful disease that affects young people, as well as old, so I am not sure about exposure to textiles in the workplace, as young children would not be exposed. RA is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks healthy tissues in your body…but I am sure that all knowledge is good 🌸

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    • I agree with you Anne,I too have had this horrid disease 30 yrs,diagnosed quite young as a lot of women do.I have had both knees total replacements,hip as well & 2014 a T10 to pelvis..e.g.9hr operation to stabilise my spine with metal..Fortunately they can help you more as technology has improved so much..I am now on a bio logical drug Orencia which I have intravenously once a month by my lovely nurse who comes to my house.I too was a very fit person..I wish you well.. keep strong..

    • Thanks for those encouraging words Lorraine. I am due to start Orencia treatment in the next week or so, so am glad to know that you are finding it helps you 🌸

    • That sounds encouraging Anne,I’ve been on Orencia over 3yrs & everyone at Orencia are so helpful & the nurses are wonderful,I have also decided not to inject myself weekly as I feel safer with my nurse giving me the infusion,,I hope it works well for you.

    • Anne i have had RA for about 18 months too and i only take Methotrexate and folic acid i don’t seem to have any problem,only small amount of pain in my toes and thumbs

  5. My grand-daughter was diagnosed as a baby with juvenile arthritis which is an auto-immune condition. She is now 10 and her juvenile arthritis is in remission but she now has diabetes type 1 which is another auto-immune condition. She sees a few different specialists and physiotherapists.

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