In India, Osteoarthritis is the second most common rheumatologic problems and one of the persistent joint disease. According to surveys, 20 percent of patients belong to the age group of 45 to 50 years. As we age, the protective cartilage on the end of the bones wears down gradually, which may lead to Osteoarthritis.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Aging is one of the common causes of osteoarthritis. As we age, the water content of the cartilage increases and as a biological process the protein build-up reduces, hence cartilage becomes weak making joints more prone to injuries and pain.
Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Its symptoms develop gradually, if left untreated may increase the risk of frequent fractures and unbearable pain. Few common symptoms are:
- Fragile joint
- Joint stiffness
- Reduced flexibility
- Joint pain
Treatment for Osteoarthritis
On the basis of causes and age factors treatment of osteoarthritis is done. Treatment varies from person to person based on common factors such as weight, age, causes, and medical history. To know the exact cause of the pain related to osteoarthritis, doctors usually depend on x-ray and MRI.
- Weight Management: Overweight or obesity is increasing pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the knee, hips feet, and spine. Losing an appropriate amount of weight based on your BMI may be difficult, however, can be achieved with a balanced diet and regular fitness activity. People who are within the BMI, experience a low risk of osteoarthritis. Fitness training and intake of nutritional diet plan from nutritionists to reduce the extra weight will do wonders, also reducing the risk of other obesity conditions.
- Exercise: Living a healthy lifestyle with frequent physical activity may reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. Even regular walks and stretching can help in reducing the stiffness of muscles and joints. It is important to spend at least an hour of daily exercising, which eventually will reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. For older adults, it is recommended to discuss the fitness program or regime with doctors and fitness professionals to avoid wrong exercise routine which may damage your joints.
- Therapy and Massages: Therapy and massages can help reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints. In osteoarthritis, one has to be more cautious about the type massages and therapy to undergo, as it may worsen the situation. It considered consulting a professional therapist before any massages and therapy.
- Cold Therapy: Applying an ice pack may help in reducing the pain and swelling. Cold compression often proved to be helpful in most of the cases. A physical therapist can plan with you to create an exercise program to strengthen the muscles around your joint, increase your range of motion and reduce pain. Regular gentle exercise that you do on your own, such as swimming or walking, can be equally effective.
- Heat therapy: Heat therapy increases blood flow to decrease stiffness in the knee joints and muscles surrounding the knee. A physical therapist can place a warm heating pad on your knee joint to promote circulation. A therapist can help you discover ways to do everyday tasks or do your job without putting extra stress on your already painful joint. For instance, a toothbrush with a large grip could make brushing your teeth easier if you have finger osteoarthritis. A bench in your shower could help relieve the pain of standing if you have knee osteoarthritis.
- Cortisone injections: Injections of corticosteroid medications may relieve pain in your joint. During this procedure, your doctor numbs the area around your joint, then places a needle into space within your joint and injects the medication. The number of cortisone injections you can receive each year is generally limited to three or four injections because the medication can worsen joint damage over time.
- Realigning bones: If osteoarthritis has damaged one side of your knee more than the other, an osteotomy might be helpful. In a knee osteotomy, a surgeon cuts across the bone either above or below the knee, and then removes or adds a wedge of bone. This shifts your body weight away from the worn-out part of your knee.
- Joint replacement: In joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty), your surgeon removes your damaged joint surfaces and replaces them with plastic and metal parts. Surgical risks include infections and blood clots. Artificial joints can wear out or come loose and may need to eventually be replaced.
- Yoga: Yoga is a promising mind-body practice that includes physical postures, breathing practices, and meditative mental focus. Yoga has proved to be the cure in multiple conditions, however it important to find the right instructor and following the regime suitable to your body. Chair yoga, hand yoga and “asanas” strengthen the muscles and joints.
It is important to understand the fact that what we eat can help our body’s immune system to deal with pain. Some foods have anti-inflammatory capabilities which can help reduce symptoms. People with osteoarthritis are more likely to have high blood cholesterol, and reducing cholesterol may improve the symptoms of this disease. On the right diet, people can quickly improve their cholesterol levels.
Including foods such as fish, dairy products, leafy vegetables, green tea, nuts, etc. may strengthen the bones, muscles, and joints and help the body to fight inflammation and disease.
Avoid smoking and intake of alcohol should be considered, as it will affect the immunity and weakens the muscle strength.
Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients, fiber, and anti-inflammatory fats, such as those that the Mediterranean diet includes, can help people living with osteoarthritis to maintain a healthy weight.
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