Doctors have always been mystified about the cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
About 1.3 million Americans suffer with the joint condition. It’s an autoimmune disease in which your body’s own immune system attacks your joints.
Doctors have always suspected that genetics were the main cause. But new research points to a different culprit: antibiotics.
The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine. Researchers analyzed information from a medical database. They followed more than 110,000 subjects for 10 years.
The researchers found that people who took antibiotics had a 60% higher chance of developing RA compared to those who didn’t. And the more courses of the drugs they took, the higher their risk.
The researchers suspect these and other antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria that live in our intestines. They think this could trigger RA.
Many doctors prescribe antibiotics like they are giving away candy at Halloween. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that U.S. physicians write 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions a year.
They hand them out for minor infections that would clear up on their own. Or they prescribe them for patients with viruses. Of course, antibiotics have no effect on viruses.
Don’t take them unless they are absolutely necessary. And make sure you are suffering from a bacterial infection, not a viral one.
4 Signs You Need Antibiotics
A British study has developed a simple four-point test doctors can use to determine if you really need antibiotics for a respiratory illness.
Researchers from the University of Southampton in England followed over 28,000 patients with signs of respiratory infections. They collected data on the patients’ symptoms, test results, and treatment.
The researchers found there were four symptoms that were almost foolproof in diagnosing whether a patient had bacterial pneumonia:
- Temperature higher than 100℉
- Pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute
- Oxygen saturation in the blood lower than 95%.
- A crackling sound in the patient’s lung audible with a stethoscope.
The study found that nearly 90% of patients with pneumonia exhibited at least one of these signs.
Dr. Michael Moore is a professor of primary care research at the University of Southampton. He led the study.
“This study shows that there are objective measures that indicate whether or not a patient might have pneumonia,” Professor Moore said. “And they are all factors that GPs (general practitioners) can already test for.”
If you are going to a doctor for a respiratory illness, show him or her this article. Ask to be tested for the four symptoms that indicate pneumonia. Chances are that you have a cold or flu that will run its course without antibiotics.
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