Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease characterized by cartilage degeneration and adjacent bone. The incidence of this disease, which can cause pain and stiffness, increase to become the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020. In fact, experts say that osteoarthritis affects more than 7 million Spaniards.
Although osteoarthritis is one of the effects of progressive aging of the population, not only it affects people older. In fact, 25% of Spaniards between 40 and 45 years suffer anywhere in the body.
Causes of osteoarthritis
Some of the causes that are advancing the onset of this disease include obesity (by mechanical and metabolic factors that damage the joints), accidents and professional sports practice. And although exercise is healthy when done in excess and put the body to the limit you can end up spending bill.
Osteoarthritis affects more women than men, and also diabetics. It is suspected that the reason for this gender inequality are estrogen, although it is not known for sure. What we do know is that some types of arthritis are related to metabolic disorders such as high blood sugar and cholesterol or lipid metabolism, such as obese.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
Although there is no definitive solution for osteoarthritis, we have treatments that reduce symptoms, delay the disease or improve the quality of life of patients.
Cartilage protectors accumulating evidence on clinical and functional improvement.
In some indications prevent disease progression or delay the need for surgery. The same is true of therapies viscosupplementation, where hyaluronic acids seem to overcome new properties which hitherto have been used or autologous biologic therapies (ortokine, platelet-rich plasma or stem cells). Although evidenced in many studies that clinical improvements occur even more knowledge to know their real effect as modulators course of the disease, ie to know if slow its advance, are needed as a regression of osteoarthritis does not seem real at the time current.
The surgery used to be the last option, but the increase in patients with functional disability, more and more young people who no longer respond to drug therapy and who want to improve their quality of life, along with new surgical techniques and improved prosthesis, have changed the situation.
For example, if before it was unthinkable to put a prosthesis to a person of 50 years or at the other end to one of 80 or 90 years, we can now select the most appropriate prosthesis for each case. Currently there is no age limit. The limit is pain and disability.
Moreover, for orthopedic surgeons it is sometimes a challenge to give value to the limitation that each of the affected joints represents for the patient. Although even more difficult to explain the limitation to know how much functional improvement can bring hip surgery, knee or spine to our patients.
The important thing, as always, is to detect the disease sooner the better, and follow some tips:
- Maintain an appropriate weight
- Not self-medicate
- Having a correct posture and work habits
- Exercise interspersed with rest
- Avoid overloading
- Staying active and adapt the exercise to our age group and not try to force our bodies to age that no longer correspond certain efforts.