Rheumatoid Arthritis and Women’s Health

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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Women’s Health

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterised by pain, swelling and stiffness in joints which commonly affects the hands, wrists and feet.  Whilst both men and women can suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, it is more commonly seen in women than men.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease with a higher prevalence rate compared to lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.

(Simmons, 2013)

The incidence rates of rheumatoid arthritis differ between men and women.  The onset of RA occurs much earlier for women, for most, during their 30’s and 40’s.  In an American study, it was noted that the incidence rates peak for women around the ages of 55 to 64, compared to 75 to 84 years of age for men.

(Simmons, 2013)

As most women are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in their 30’s and 40’s, a study found that the diagnosis negatively impacts both the body and mind of women, as indicated in their pain, disease activity, and quality of life scores.  This is due to women being diagnosed at a time when their burdens are the heaviest as this is the time when women are most likely to have children or are raising children combined with work and socialising.

Changes in hormone levels also impacts women.  It has been noted that before a menstrual period, women find the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis to be more severe, but settles during their cycle.  Also, due to the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, 50 – 60% of women with rheumatoid arthritis noticed that their symptoms improved.

The key to managing rheumatoid arthritis is to start the treatment as early as possible as it can halt or slow the disease, preventing joint damage and complications, including: osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.  Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of heart attack by 60%.  To start treatment as early as possible, it is important that it is diagnosed as early as possible.

Randox offer a number of key assays for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid factor is the most routinely run test to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis as 80% of rheumatoid arthritis patients test positive for rheumatoid factor.  The Randox Rheumatoid Factor reagent offers the following benefits:

  • Wide measuring range of 6.72 – 104lU/ml for the accurate measurement of clinically important results
  • Accurate assessment of rheumatoid factor titre (calibrant standardised against primary WHO material; 1st British Standard 64/2)
  • No interference from complement C1q
  • Automated immunoturbidimetric assay
  • Applications available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers, detailing instrument-specific settings

It has been found that complement C4 and CRP upregulation indicates the middle to late stages of rheumatoid arthritis.

The Randox Complement C4 reagent offers the following benefits:

  • Wide measuring of 3.41 – 152mg/dl for the accurate measurement of clinically significant results
  • Limited interferences from Bilirubin, Haemoglobin, Intralipids, and Triglycerides, producing more accurate results
  • Automated immunoturbidimetric assay
  • Applications available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers, detailing instrument-specific settings

The Randox High-Sensitivity CRP reagent offers the following benefits:

  • Wide measuring of 0.477 – 10mg/l fir the accurate measurement of clinically significant results
  • Liquid ready-to-use reagents for convenience and ease of use
  • Applications available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers, detailing instrument-specific settings

How Randox R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare: An introduction to diagnostics for BSW 2017

In celebration of British Science Week 2017, we will be giving you an introduction to diagnostics, and exploring how Randox Scientists are helping to change healthcare.

 

You may or may not already know that Randox are one of the leading diagnostics companies globally.  But what exactly does clinical diagnostics involve?  It is one of the fundamental steps of finding out what is wrong with a person when they are ill.  Read on to find out a bit more about diagnostics, and how the Randox Reagents R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare globally!

What is a diagnostic test?

A diagnostic test is any kind of analysis performed on a patient sample (a sample is typically blood, urine or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)), to aid in the diagnosis or detection of disease.  The information found from a test can be used to:

  • Diagnose disease
  • Assess the extent of damage
  • Monitor the effectiveness of treatment
  • Confirm a person to be free from disease

Blood flows through all parts of the body, coming into direct contact with every organ and tissue.  Therefore a blood sample’s appearance and composition provide important information on what is happening in the various parts of the body!

So what exactly is being tested in the blood?

Examples of substances that may be tested for the blood include proteins, nutrients, waste products, antibodies, hormones, salts, trace elements or vitamins.  These are sometimes referred to as ‘analytes’, ‘markers’ or ‘biomarkers’.

This is where reagents come in…

A reagent is a substance which is mixed with the patient sample to create a chemical reaction to detect the biomarker.  These reactions are analysed by machines known as analysers.

Finally…

Using data gathered from both clinical symptoms and laboratory tests, the doctor will follow a sometimes painstaking process of analysis and elimination to perform a successful diagnosis!

 

Continue reading…


Randox Reagents celebrate World Kidney Day 2017

On 9 March 2017, Randox Reagents are celebrating World Kidney Day!  World Kidney Day is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health. It aims to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

This year, the World Kidney Day promotes education on the harmful consequences of obesity and its association with kidney disease, advocating healthy lifestyle and health policy measures that make preventive behaviours an affordable option.

With this in mind, throughout the week we have been sharing on social media some interesting facts on diagnostic tests which can help aid an early risk assessment of kidney disease in obese patients, allowing preventative action to be taken before any serious damage occurs.  The tests of focus this week included cystatin C, adiponectin and microalbumin

Cystatin C

The creatinine test is routinely run for patients who are suspected for deteriorating kidney function, however this test has limitations.  Cystatin C is an alternative test, and is particularly useful in patients where creatinine measurements are not suitable e.g. individuals who are obese, malnourished, have liver cirrhosis or reduced muscle mass. Importantly, unlike creatinine, cystatin C does not have a ‘blind area’ – up to 50% of kidney function can be lost before significant creatinine elevation occurs. Cystatin C is extremely sensitive to very small changes in kidney function and is therefore capable of detecting early stage kidney dysfunction.  The cystatin C test therefore allows preventative measures to be taken much earlier and before significant kidney function decline.

Adiponectin

There is substantial evidence that excess visceral fat is the main driving force for almost all of the disorders associated with the metabolic syndrome, including CKD.1,2 The adiponectin test from Randox can accurately assess levels of abdominal visceral fat, independent of age, race or fitness level.3,4  Assessing adiponectin, and therefore visceral fat levels, can help assess risk of CKD, as well as a range of other illnesses such as pre-diabetes, CVD and various cancers.

 

Microalbumin

The microalbumin test detects very low levels of a blood protein called albumin, in urine. The detection of albumin in urine can be an indicator of kidney injury and can result in irreversible damage if left untreated. Low albumin concentrations in the urine are the earliest marker of kidney damage and therefore enable preventative measures to be taken.  Microalbumin testing can identify individuals with diabetic nephropathy approximately 5-10 years earlier than proteinuria tests helping reduce the frequency of end stage renal disease.

Both World Kidney Day and Randox are working towards improving healthcare worldwide. With continuous investment in R&D, Randox are helping with the risk assessment and earliest detection of renal function problems. By assessing one’s risk of kidney problems (with the adiponectin test), it can give patients (obese and other) the tools to prevent kidney problems further on down the line.  With early diagnosis (through the cystatin C and microalbumin tests) it will be possible to keep kidney problems from getting worse, therefore lowering the number of those diagnosed with CKD worldwide.

For health professionals

If you are a clinician or lab interested in running renal function assays, Randox offers a large range of high quality routine and niche assays including:  Cystatin C, Creatinine Enzymatic and Jaffe, Microalbumin, Urinary Protein, Urea, Sodium, Potassium, Albumin, Ammonia, β2- Microglobulin, Calcium, Chloride, Glucose, HbA1c, IgG, LDH, Magnesium, Phosphorus (Inorganic), and Uric Acid. These can be run on most automated biochemistry analysers.

For more information, download our Diabetes Brochure or email reagents@randox.com.

References

  1. Hall JE, Henegar JR, Dwyer TM, et al. Is obesity a major cause of chronic renal disease?Adv Ren Replace Ther. 2004;11(1):41–54. [PubMed]
  2. Tchernof A, Després JP. Pathophysiology of human visceral obesity: an update.Physiol Rev. 2013;93(1):359–404. [PubMed]
  3. Matsuzawa, Y. The role of fat topology in the risk of disease.  Int J Obes.  2008;32:s83-s92.
  4. Frederiksen, L., Nielsen, T. L., Wraae, K., Hagen, C., Frystyk, J., Flyvbjerg, A., Brixen, K. and Andersen, M. Subcutaneous Rather than Visceral Adipose Tissue Is Associated with Adiponectin Levels and Insulin Resistance in Young Men.  JCEM, (2009) 94 (10): 4010-4015.

 

Further reading:


#LoveYourHeart this Valentine’s Day!

We are encouraging you to #LoveYourHeart this Valentine’s Day! Read on to find out why your heart health should matter to you this #HeartMonth!

Fact:  Did you know people with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people without diabetes?¹

Good diabetes control is imperative!  If you have diabetes take control and monitor your treatment to ensure you are safe from complications such as cardiovascular disease…

Many complications associated with diabetes include kidney disease, eye disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetic ketoacidosis (a life threatening condition that can develop in insulin dependent diabetics).

If you have diabetes, being physically active and controlling your weight and blood pressure will help manage your blood sugar level; and therefore help manage the risk of cardiac diseases.

However a few simple routine tests may also be carried out to ensure normal kidney function.  Normal kidney function in a diabetic patient means that diabetes is being controlled well, however if kidney function begins to deteriorate then you will know that measures need to be taken to control diabetes better.

Speciality tests to assess kidney function which can be requested include:

  • Cystatin C a sensitive marker of kidney function used for detection of early renal dysfunction in diabetic patients. It is important to note that Creatinine is the routine test for renal dysfunction, however it has a blind range which means it is unable to detect elevated Creatinine levels found in stage 2 and halfway through stage 3 renal dysfunction; as a result 50% of kidney function can be lost before elevated Creatinine levels can be seen. The Cystatin C test is a much more sensitive marker and can detect early stages of renal dysfunction, allowing treatment to begin before it is too late.
  • Beta-2 Microglobulin – this test is used when kidney damage has occurred to distinguish between the two most commonly affected sites, glomeruli and renal tubules.

Fact:  Cardiovascular Diseases are the number one cause of death globally, with more people dying annually from CVDs than any other cause.²   In the UK alone, 41,000 people under the age of 75 die from CVD each year.³

If you are worried about your cardiovascular health, or whether you are at risk of a heart attack or stroke, ask your doctor for a cardiovascular risk assessment. Routinely they will run lipid tests such as Total Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides to assess your overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and allow corrective action to be taken.

Look out for hidden risk factors!

Specific tests you may also want to discuss with your doctor include:

  • sLDL Cholesterol and Lipoprotein(a) to assess for genetically inherited risks of cardiovascular disease – even if your cholesterol levels are safe you may still be at risk of cardiovascular disease as a result of familial traits
  • Adiponectin to assess the level of abdominal visceral fat, of which high levels can increase your cardiovascular risk. Please note that abdominal visceral fat levels or body fat cannot be determined by BMI score, which assesses whether weight is within a healthy range. As such, the Adiponectin test provides a clearer indication of health and is a good predictor of cardiovascular risk
  • TxBCardio to assess response to Aspirin therapy for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Up to 30% of patients receiving Aspirin therapy suffer unknowingly from Aspirin resistance. This test enables treatment to be modified and corrected

Asking your doctor for these tests creates an opportunity for corrective action to be taken and can have significant benefits for your health.

Fact:  Approximately one woman dies from heart disease every minute, of which 64% had no previous symptoms.4

Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they’re often misunderstood. Media has conditioned us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But in reality, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.

Being aware of these signs can aid early detection, and greatly increase chances of surviving a heart attack!

 

So don’t forget to #LoveYourHeart this Valentine’s Day!  Randox can provide a vast range of specialised blood tests to allow the most accurate diagnosis of diabetes, cardiac risk and associated complications. From all of us here at Randox we wish you an enjoyable Valentine’s Day!

For health professionals:

Randox Laboratories manufacture a wide range of routine and niche biochemistry reagents suitable for both research and clinical use.  These include a wide variety of automated routine and niche diabetes and cardiac tests and our new HDL3-C assay.  Please contact reagents@randox.com for further information.

 

References

  1. World Heart Federation, Diabetes, https://goo.gl/e8WG86 Accessed: February 2017
  2. WHO, Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), https://goo.gl/fGO0bj, (2016), Accessed: February 2017
  3. British Heart Foundation, CVD Statistics – BHF UK Factsheet, https://goo.gl/6DEOdw (2017), Accessed: February 2017
  4. Reference: American Heart Association, Common Myths About Heart Disease, (2017),  https://goo.gl/NEz5gV, Accessed: February 2017

 

Further reading:


Careers Tips | 5 Reasons You’ll Love Working at Randox

Are you thinking of working at Randox? Great! Whether you’re from a science background, business, or art, Randox embrace multiple disciplines and we, at Randox Careers, are here to give you 5 reasons why you’ll love working with us!


1. Company Culture

Randox have built a team of the most passionate, inspiring and motivated individuals in the industry. Employees of Randox aren’t just a team, but they’re family!

Randox Laboratories likes to celebrate talent, and encourages people to work to their strengths, as recently demonstrated in the largely successful Future in the Making event, which was held to gather and thank Randox employees worldwide for the success of the growth of the company. Randox encouraged employees to share their experiences through the hashtag #WeAreRandox. Check it out, here!

2. Learning Opportunities are Endless!

Due to the size of Randox, and the vast specialties in the health sector, Randox Laboratories has a lot to offer in teaching new, innovative techniques in business, science, design, technology, engineering, and many more!

Randox is a great place to be given the opportunity to get creative in your industry! Work is always fast-paced, forward-thinking and open to fresh, innovative ideas! Peter FitzGerald (Randox Founder & MD) stated “We never stand still here! Our mission is to transform healthcare by continuously improving diagnostic solutions, which, for us, ultimately means saving lives.”

Randox Laboratories is not only a great place to grow, develop and climb the career-ladder whilst in full-time work, but it encourages growth in students, too! Renowned for their highly active Placement programs for 1st and 2nd year students, Randox offers 50+ positions each year for every sector. We hold a special awards ceremony for our highest achieving students at the end of the year, commending them for their outstanding work at Randox! You can read about the Pinnacle Placement Awards and see this year’s winners here.

3. Randox is a Globally Respected Brand

Working for a company like Randox will prove your ambition to individuals in every industry globally. We understand your CV is very important to you, and having worked for a well-respected brand like Randox,  you’re sure to stand out from the crowd!

4. Be a Jet-setter! 

Randox has a large global presence. With offices in over 145 countries, we are frequently attending high profile events in such places as Dubai, Thailand, London, USA, and Paris! (You can check out some of our upcoming events, here.)

You can have the opportunity to experience these beautiful countries with Randox!

5. Let Your Work Change The World

Randox is an influential company and a global leader in the Healthcare and Diagnostics industry, responsible for diagnosing 5% of the population’s conditions. We are dedicated to improving the healthcare industry, and saving lives with our hard work. Randox’s success means better quality of life for the global population, as we discover how to diagnose as early as possible.

Do you want to change the world with us? Join the team, check out our opportunities!

Reasons you'll love working at randox laboratories diagnostics
Randox Laboratories Happy Employees

Immunoturbidimetry vs nephelometry for protein detection

Immunoturbidimetry methods have become the main technique for performing protein tests. The transition from nephelometry has been cautious but is increasing as laboratories enjoy the comparability and flexibility of immunoturbidimetry.

Immunoturbidimetry and nephelometry both measure the turbidity of a sample to determine the level of an analyte. Upon addition of the assay reagent, antibodies and antigen cluster to form an immune complex that precipitates, increasing the turbidity of the sample. When light is passed through the reaction solution, some light is scattered by the sample, some light is absorbed by the sample and the rest passes through the sample.

Immunoturbidimetry measures the absorbance of the light by the sample, nephelometry measures the light scattered at a fixed angle. The level of analyte is determined by comparison with a calibrator of known concentration.

Immunoturbidimetry is ideal for the detection of proteins, where the analyte concentration is inversely proportional to the transmitted light signal. Historically nephelometry has been more sensitive than conventional immunoturbidimetry. In latex-enhanced immunoturbidimetry, inert microscopic particles enlarge the immune complexes, amplifying the reaction and significantly increasing the sensitivity of the reaction.

Nephelometers are dedicated analysers only capable of performing this type of assay. In addition, they are:

  • slow
  • have high consumable costs
  • require highly trained personnel

Immunoturbidimetric tests are carried out on routine biochemistry analysers that are:

  • versatile
  • fast
  • cost-effective
  • offer longer reagent stability
  • sensitive

The main advantage of nephelometry was its sensitivity; however latex-enhanced immunoturbidimetry has closed this gap.   Immunoturbidimetric tests are an increasingly accepted alternative to nephelometry for specific protein assays, and studies have shown a close correlation between Randox immunoturbidimetric tests and nephelometry.

If you are interested in running your protein assays on a routine biochemistry analyser, Randox offers a large range of high quality routine and niche protein assays that can be run on most automated analysers, including:  Alpha-I acid glycoprotein; alpha-I antitrypsin; anti-streptolysin O; apolipoprotein A-I; apolipoprotein A-II; apolipoprotein B; apolipoprotein C-II; apolipoprotein C-III; apolipoprotein E; ceruloplasmin; complement C3; complement C4; CRP; cystatin C; ferritin; haptoglobin; HbA1c; IgA; IgE; IgG; IgM; lipoprotein (a); microalbumin; myoglobin; rheumatoid factor; transferrin and transthyretin (prealbumin).  For more information, download our Reagents Brochure or email: reagents@randox.com.


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