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Knee Osteoarthritis a Higher Risk than Previously Thought

As you age, one of the things you might be concerned about is the ever-increasing pain and discomfort in your joints. Perhaps you find your knees and ankles are achy and sore after a long walk or run, or it’s not quite as easy to get up from a seated position as it used to be. According to a recent report, it now looks like those kinds of joint problems – especially of the knee – happen more frequently than previously thought. Let’s take a look at this recent research.

According to this study on knee osteoarthritis, nearly 1 in 2 people will develop osteoarthritis in the knee before they are 85.  In those who are overweight, the risk increases to nearly 2 in 3.
The study was conducted by a team of investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  It consisted of 3,000 people living in six townships of Johnston County, N.C.  The subjects were tracked for almost two decades.

Participants answered questions and had many medical tests to complete, such as x-rays of their hips, knees, spine and hands.  Between five and seven years later, they were to repeat the same process.

Based on this study, researchers were able to estimate the risk of having symptoms of osteoarthritis in at least one knee by the age of 85 was 45.5 percent.  Factors that did not seem to contribute to knee osteoarthritis included race, sex, and education.  However, a big contributor was increasing body weight. 

For example, people who maintained a healthy weight over their lifetime had less of a chance of developing knee osteoarthritis.  On the other hand, those who were at a normal weight at the age of 18, but became overweight by age 27, had a 60 percent higher risk of developing the condition. 

“We hear a lot about why the obesity epidemic is so important,” said Joanne Jordan, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and orthopedics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We hear that you need to lose weight to prevent diabetes or lose weight to prevent heart disease.  We never hear that you need to lose weight to prevent arthritis.  But it is critical to realize that if you gain weight, you’re going to get arthritis in your knees and you’re going to be miserable.”

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Signs of knee osteoarthritis include:
  • Stiffness in the joint(s) in the morning lasting longer than 30 minutes
  • Instability or buckling
  • Grinding or cracking noise in the joint
  • Swelling or inflammation

Prevention Tips and Treatment Options
Knee arthritis is extremely painful; therefore it is essential that you take the time to try and prevent it, or try to minimize the swelling and pain the best way you can.  Listed below are some techniques you can do in your daily routine that can save wear and tear on your joints and ligaments, as well as reduce your pain.

  • Stretch every morning.  Massage any stiff or sore muscles to help stimulate blood circulation.  This will help those joints warm up and also reduce your pain.
  • Improve your posture.  Wear a compressive thermomedic back support for spinal alignment.  Try to keep both feet on the ground when you sit down.  Do not cross your legs too much as this will impede your blood circulation and put your back out of alignment.
  • When your arthritis flares, use a form of thermal far infrared therapy.  This method contains safe and effective bio-ceramic compounds to reduce swelling naturally and improve circulation to soothe pain.   Use these when doing your gentle exercises to minimize joint wear and tear and avoid strain on the joints.

For other joints and ligaments:
  • If you are at the computer for hours at a time, you should use wrist bands and therapy gloves to keep your wrists straight. This will help to prevent the compression of soft tissues, such as the tendons, nerves and blood vessels in your forearms.
  • Take breaks from typing, writing or any other repetitive movement.  Do gentle stretching movements to strengthen your hands and improve flexibility.
  • Massage your wrists and hands which will keep them flexible, while maintaining good blood circulation.

Knee osteoarthritis is a horrible pain to have to deal with on a daily basis.  It is extremely important that you take care of yourself before your joints wears down, and that includes maintaining a healthy weight throughout your lifetime.

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