Do you have hot hands? That could be a sign that arthritis is on the way.
Duke researchers are using a high tech thermal imaging device now to measure temperature changes in the hands of patients with early Osteoarthritis. Their study has found the inflamed joints give off heat as the disease starts to set in, even before any sign of joint damage can be picked up on an x-ray.
The study found inflammation is highest and the heat is strongest in the early stages of the wear and tear of the disease, but that the joints begin to cool off as arthritis progresses. Researchers say they believe the thermal scanner could be a useful tool to help doctors detect arthritis and start treatment early.
The arthritis foundation estimates that nearly 21 million Americans are living with Osteoarthritis. The study was conducted at Duke University Medical Center by Dr. Virginia Kraus and is published in the Journal of Reumatology.
The thermal scanner is sensitive enough to detect differences of a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. The study also revealed that the temperature of finger joints is proportional to the severity of Osteoarthritis.