As much as we have learned about the human body in the past few centuries, there are still many mysteries. One of those mysteries is the existence of “partner conditions.”
What are “partner conditions”?
There are some ailments that patients may experience in combination with another one. For example, some patients that suffer from endometriosis may also suffer from melanoma. Another example of partner conditions are migraines and cardiovascular disease. Ailments can be grouped together as partner conditions when there is a substantial number of patients who suffer from both conditions. Also, patients who are treated for one of the partner conditions may see improvements in the other.
There are several theories about each set of partner conditions. Some sets may have a genetic link of some sort, while others may be linked due to underlying health issues. Partner conditions are being studied at the moment to discover the links as well as exploring options for treatment.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which a patient’s joints are swollen and painful. Severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis can result in joints that are fused together, meaning the patient cannot move freely.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an oral health condition in which a patient’s soft tissues (gums) are bleeding and swollen. Left untreated, this can lead to deterioration of the gums as well as tooth loss.
These two health conditions are a set of partner conditions. At this time, there is no clear understanding of how the two health issues are linked. Even so, the data at this time indicates that patients with one of these conditions are at greater risk for the other. There is even evidence that treating a patient for periodontal disease may improve a person’s markers for rheumatoid arthritis.
For the Future
Researchers will continue investigating partner conditions. Knowing there is a connection between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis gives researchers an excellent place to study. In time, we hope to be part of the cure for both ailments.