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Fluoride, Arthritis, and the Specter of Misdiagnosed Skeletal Fluorosis in the US
It has been known since the 1930s that ingesting too much fluoride can cause stiff and painful joints. According to scientists who have studied this condition (commonly referred to as skeletal fluorosis), the joint damage caused by fluoride may mimic other, more common, forms of “arthritis,” making it easy to misdiagnose — especially by doctors […]
Prolonged, excessive exposure to fluoride can cause a debilitating bone disease known as skeletal fluorosis. The disease develops insidiously and can be difficult to distinguish from a number of other bone and joint diseases. Research shows that individual susceptibility to fluorosis varies greatly across the population, both with respect to the doses and duration of exposure that can cause the […]
Fluoride & Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces in the spine that results in pressure being placed on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. Although stenosis can develop without symptoms, it may produce numbness, tingling, pain and difficulty in walking, as well as a heavy/tired feeling in the legs. It is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 Americans currently have symptoms of spinal stenosis. Skeletal fluorosis is one cause of stenosis.
Symposium on the non-skeletal phase of chronic fluorosis: The Joints
Of 300 patients with endemic skeletal fluorosis 187 (110 children and 77 adults) showed evidence of arthritis. The spine, especially its cervical portion, appeared to be mainly involved; elbow, hip and knee joints followed next in order.
Fluoride & Rheumatoid Arthritis
The symptoms of skeletal fluorosis can closely resemble rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and thus individuals with fluorosis can “easily be mistaken” as having RA. In addition, clinical research on fluoride-treated osteoporosis patients has found that fluoride exposure can exacerbate pre-existing RA, and recent research shows that the levels of fluoride found in the blood of the general population (19-57 ppb) are sufficient to effect an enzyme (15-lipoxygenase) implicated in the inflammatory process of RA.
Exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis by sodium fluoride treatment of osteoporosis.
The following is an excerpt from: Duell PB, Chesnut CH. (1991). Exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis by sodium fluoride treatment of osteoporosis. Archives of Internal Medicine 151:783-4. “Recent studies have suggested that sodium fluoride therapy may be an effective treatment for vertebral osteoporosis. Unfortunately, the high frequency of side effects may limit the use of this treatment modality. This report documents […]
Joint pain? It could be fluorosis
The next time you suffer from a persistent backache or an irritating stiff joint, don’t attribute it to long hours spent at the computer. It could well be the result of fluorosis, a disease thought to affect people in rural India with no access to safe drinking water.
Fluoride & Spondylosis; Spondylitis
Among individuals with skeletal fluorosis, the fluoride-induced changes to the spine, and the accompanying symptoms, can bear a close resemblance to spondylosis and spondylitis (as well as DISH). Spondylosis is a (non-inflammatory) degenerative disease of the spine marked by bony outgrowths (spurs) which can produce nerve cord compression. Spondylitis, by contrast, is an inflammatory form of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints between the vertebrae. Whereas spondylosis is generally asymptomatic, spondylitis generally causes significant pain and stiffness in the spine.
Fluoride & DISH (Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis)
Among individuals with skeletal fluorosis, the fluoride-induced changes to the spine, and the accompanying symptoms, can bear a close resemblance to DISH (Forestier’s Disease). Some authors report that skeletal fluorosis can so closely resemble that DISH that the only way to distinguish the two would be to conduct an invasive bone biopsy. No studies have ever been conducted to determine what role, if any, fluoride plays in the development of DISH.
Variability in Radiographic Appearance of Skeletal Fluorosis
Osteosclerosis (dense bone) is the bone change typically associated with skeletal fluorosis, particularly in the axial skeleton (spine, pelvis, and ribs). Research shows, however, that skeletal fluorosis produces a spectrum of bone changes, including osteomalacia, osteoporosis, exostoses, changes resulting from secondary hyperparathyroidism, and combinations thereof. Although the reason for this radiographic variability is not yet fully understood, it is believed to relate to the dose of fluoride consumed, the individual’s nutritional status, exposure to aluminum, genetic susceptibility, presence of kidney disease, and area of the skeleton examined.