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Bone & Joints Function

Hepatitis Screening
March 1, 2008
Cancer (Tumour) Markers
March 2, 2008

Calcium
Calcium is an important mineral necessary for good health.  Calcium is essential for proper bone and teeth formation. It is necessary for proper blood clotting as well as muscle contraction.  The calcium balance is influenced by vitamin D, parathyroid hormone and calcitonin.  These hormones control the dietary absorption of calcium as well as its excretion by the kidneys and its movement in and out of the bone.  One of the common causes of high calcium level is bone diseases as well as excessive presence of vitamin D.  Low levels of calcium may be due to vitamin D deficiency, poor absorption due to malnutrition and kidney disease.

Phosphate
Phosphate is also an important mineral necessary for good health.  A high level of phosphate is associated with bone disease.  Children have higher levels than adults because their bones are growing at a faster pace and they have higher levels of growth hormone which influence the level of phosphate. Poor diet and alcoholism can lower the level of phosphate.

Uric Acid
Uric acid is formed from the breakdown of nucleic acids and is excreted by the kidneys.  It has low solubility and tends to precipitate as uric acid crystals.  High level of uric acid will lead to gout. a disease where uric acid crystals are deposited in tissues and joints, causing pain. High uric acid levels can also lead to kidney disease and formation of urinary stones.  High protein diet and alcohol are known to increase the level of uric acid.

RA Factor (Rheumatoid Arthritis Factor)
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and can occur in several diseases.  Common among these are gout, rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease affecting mainly the joints of the hands and feet.  About 80% of adults with rheumatoid arthritis have high levels of RA Factor and will show a positive result.  Weak positive or false-negative may be due to early or chronic stages of the disease.

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