A team of researchers from the United States and Finland has found that rates of knee osteoarthritis (OA) are higher now than in the past – probably not for the reasons you think.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that knee OA is more than twice as common today, in the post-industrial era, as it was at any time before, going back to prehistoric days. People in the 21st century are also more likely to have arthritis in both knees than were people in the past.
Continue reading Knee OA More Common Now Than at Any Time in the Last 6,000 Years
About 40 percent of adults in the United States are likely to develop osteoarthritis (OA) in at least one hand by age 85, and some people are more at risk than others, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their findings were published recently in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.
Continue reading Hand OA Risk Higher for Women, Caucasians, Overweight People
Losing excess weight may help preserve knee cartilage in people who have or are at risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), whose findings were recently published online in the journal Radiology. Knee cartilage is the rubbery, slick cap that covers the ends of the upper (femur) and lower (tibia) leg bones that make up the knee joint.
Their study also found that shedding extra pounds protected the menisci, the crescent-shaped cartilage pads that cushion the knee joint. Lead author Alexandra Gersing, MD, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF School of Medicine, says this is especially important because a torn or damaged meniscus can speed up the degeneration of the knee joint overall.
Continue reading Study Confirms That Losing Weight May Save Your Knees
Recent research shows that statins — the drugs people take to lower their cholesterol — may also lower their chances of getting osteoarthritis or delay its progression.
Traditionally, treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) has been limited to relieving symptoms and replacing joints with prostheses once they become irreparably damaged. However, researchers are actively looking for treatments that will not only ease OA’s pain and stiffness, but will slow, stop – or even prevent – the progression of joint damage. Statins may be one possible answer.
Proof That Statins May Work Against OA
Several studies have found that all other things being equal (age, weight, comorbid conditions, for example) people taking statins either had a lower prevalence of OA or had slower-progressing OA than those who didn’t take the drugs.
Continue reading Stopping Osteoarthritis with Statins?
Can Vitamin D help prevent the onset of osteoarthritis (OA) or slow joint damage if you already have OA? While study results have been mixed, in general, they suggest that Vitamin D may be protective in OA.
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption by the body to enable bone growth and repair. Because osteoarthritis has a bone growth component, researchers have been examining the potential role of vitamin D in osteoarthritis development and progression.
What the Studies Show
Two studies published in 2014 looked at vitamin D levels in the blood of people with or at risk of OA. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that participants with low vitamin D levels had a more than 2-fold elevated risk of knee OA progression compared with those with greater vitamin D concentrations. The other, published in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, found that among older adults, moderate vitamin D deficiency predicted new or worsening knee pain over 5 years.
Continue reading Vitamin D May Slow Osteoarthritis Progression
Widely used by doctors to soften forehead wrinkles and reduce uncontrollably sweaty armpits, researchers are exploring botulinum toxin as a potential therapy for osteoarthritis (OA) pain.
“The Botox story is very intriguing,” says David Felson, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine. “It isn’t just muscles. It can paralyze nerves. Just like celebrities injecting it into wrinkles, it could have the same effect on a hip muscle. Botox could paralyze the muscle that is transmitting pain.”
This toxin may eventually be used to treat OA patients whose pain is not sufficiently controlled by traditional medicines like NSAIDs or analgesics, and for patients who may experience adverse effects from those medicines, says Dr. Felson.
Continue reading Studies Suggest Botox May Ease Osteoarthritis Pain
Can cracking your knuckles cause cartilage breakdown? Can texting trigger hand OA? Will wearing high heels damage your knee joints? Osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes called “wear and tear” arthritis, occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. So it’s often thought that if you engage in repetitive activity and put added stress on your joints, it can affect how quickly you get OA or how fast it progresses. Can these five lifestyle factors – knuckle cracking, texting, diet, high-impact exercise and high-heeled shoes – affect your joint health and possibly cause osteoarthritis? Here’s what research says.
Continue reading Can Lifestyle Factors Influence Osteoarthritis Outcomes?