Anti aging guide

Arthritis and Old Age



Why we will have evidence of osteoarthritis in our major joints when we reach old age and how to treat it?

By the time we reach old age most of us will have some evidence of osteoarthritis in some of our major joints. The cause of this condition (in common with most forms of arthritis) is unknown. There is, however, no doubt that the recurrent trauma to the joints plays an important role in causation. This probably accounts for the increasing incidence with increasing age—reflecting the unavoidable damage that is inflicted on our joints during a long and active life. People who have exposed individual joints to particularly excessive wear and tear throughout life are the most likely to develop the pathological changes of osteoarthritis. Essentially the condition is due to the destruction of the cartilage layer which ,covers the ends of the bones at the joints. Without this covering, the friction which occurs with each movement increases—the joint becomes less efficient and movement becomes painful and sometimes audible. Because of decreased use of the joint, its surrounding muscles become weaker and are less able to move and support the joint. In the late stages, deformity occurs and the surrounding muscles become stiff and fibrotic hence hindering normal function even more.

Hips and knees are commonly involved and when painful this affects walking, whilst shoulder involvement affects many activities of daily living. The spine is also frequently affected. In the early stages of the disorder pain-relieving tablets enable continued use of the joints. Extra strengthening may be gained by activity or specific exercises—the special skills of a physiotherapist will be invaluable in planning such courses of treatment. If the joint changes progress to such an extent that normal activities become painful, then referral to an orthopaedic surgeon is needed for consideration of joint replacement. Combined metal and plastic joints inserted into the hip have been one of the most successful developments of modern surgery and have truly prolonged active life for many patients. Unfortunately the new joints do not last as long as nature’s originals and a further replacement may be needed after ten or so years of use.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - May 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm