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Dr. Mark Ciaglia

There’s a salt epidemic going on – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American ingests up to double the recommended sodium intake every day. Not only is this bad news for those with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease, but one local bone expert points out that too much salt can also exacerbate the most common hand issue Americans face: arthritis.

Currently, approximately twenty percent of the U.S. population suffers from arthritis – that’s more than 52 million people. Dr. Mark Ciaglia, the preeminent hand surgeon and owner of Woodlands Center for Special Surgery, has noted a trend in arthritis hitting younger age groups, thanks in large part to repetitive motion injuries caused by activities such as video gaming or intense school-level sports.

“People, depending on their health, should take in between 1500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day; yet the average person eats about 3,400,” said Ciaglia. He points out a couple of reasons why this can lead to arthritis and other hand issues.

“Too much salt can reduce the amount of calcium in your bones, which increases the risk of fractures, arthritis and osteoporosis,” he said. “Also, people already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and taking medication for it may find their pain amplified, as corticosteroids – which are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – cause the body to retain sodium intake.”

Ciaglia encourages his patients to lessen the salt content in their diet by being aware of the sodium content in prepackaged and restaurant foods, and to sample alternate forms of seasoning when cooking at home. Additionally, he knows that early detection of arthritis can significantly lessen its impact on the patient.

“So, we’re hosting free hand x-rays to check for arthritis at our office from now through June 17,” he said. Any member of the public who makes a reservation can come to the center located at 17450 St. Luke’s Way, Suite 390, in The Woodlands to receive a free digital x-ray exam on their hands. The procedure uses the latest technology that provides nearly instantaneous results.

Woodlands Center for Special Surgery provides a full range of procedures and services including minimally invasive carpal tunnel release, fracture care, joint reconstructions and all pediatric hand issues. Dr. Ciaglia also specializes in treating complex conditions including bone disorders, fractures, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

To make your reservation for your free hand x-ray, please call 936-242-1437; for more information, visit

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