Aching Joints

Degenerative joint disease, medically known as osteoarthritis, is the most common form of joint disease, and spares no age, race or geographic area. By the age of 40, ninety percent of all adults have radiographic findings of osteoarthritis in their weight-bearing joints – which is about 20 million adults in the United States at any given time. Heredity and mechanical factors play a big role in the development of this potentially debilitating disease, and as we age, the symptoms of osteoarthritis increase.

Osteoarthritis is normally divided into two types: primary and secondary. The primary type most commonly affects the fingers, hands, hips, the knees, bones in the foot and the joints of the big toe, along with the neck and the lumbar spine. The secondary types of degenerative joint disease usually refer to bone surfaces that are injured or bones in joints that may be broken or fractured. Occupational overuse of a joint and certain neurological or metabolic diseases typically fall into this second category.

Weight reduction, especially in women, has been shown to reduce the risk of developing symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Estrogen replacement therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of knee and hip osteoarthritis in many patients.  Other studies have shown that maintaining normal vitamin D levels may also reduce the occurrence and progression of osteoarthritis. For many patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the weight-bearing joints, a supervised walking program may result in clinical improvement.  Weight loss always improves the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knees.
In conclusion, if your joints hurt and your mobility decreases, please do not automatically assume it is part of the aging process.  Pain is the body’s way of telling us that there is something wrong.

A physician or nurse practitioner should be consulted before accumulative damage is done to the joint.

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