Hello My Friends
Welcome to The Vitality Project
Were you aware of the fact that most people over the age of 50 have a very common form of arthritis?
Have you ever had pain in your spine, knees or hips and following a series of x-rays been told that you have a condition known as Osteoarthritis?
Those of you who suffer from hand, wrist, foot and ankle pain may have also been given the same diagnosis.
The simple fact is that Osteoarthritis is a sub-type of the most common form of arthritis which effects humans.
This type of arthritis is referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease.
This type of arthritis is the wear and tear form of arthritis which effects most of us over the age of 50 despite our own personal medical or family history.
Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) typically affects the lower areas of the spinal column and the large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. This type of arthritis is usually responsible for joint replacement surgery involving the knee or hip joints.
DJD involves the progressive wearing-away of the cartilage which lines the joints. Over time, the joint can enlarge from bone enlargement with limitation in motion, pain, swelling with clicking or grinding inside the joint commonly experienced. The joints involved can also show signs of deformation.
When this condition also occurs in the hands, feet and there is a positive family history (especially on the female side), it is known as Osteoarthritis.
The most common presentation of DJD is a person who has knee, hip or spinal pain. Strangely enough, even quite advanced cases of DJD of the spine may not be associated with severe amounts of pain. However, loss of spinal disc cartilage and new bone formation can cause nerve compression syndromes including Spinal Stenosis.
Please be assured in understanding that, there are some things you can do for yourself which will greatly lessen your burden if you have been diagnosed with this condition.
Let’s first review some recent research regarding the impact of lifestyle dynamics and the clinical course of DJD.
With regard to DJD of the knee, being the most common location for this disease it makes the greatest amount of sense to alter your lifestyle if you have been diagnosed with it.
In a recent study of obese adults (obesity is a major risk factor for DJD), over a 4 year period, those who were able to loose 5-10% of their body weight experienced a slower decline in knee cartilage (articular and meniscal) compared to a similar group of adults who did not loose any body weight.
According to the authors of this study:
“The most exciting finding of our research was that not only did we see slower degeneration in the articular cartilage, we saw that the menisci degenerated a lot slower in overweight and obese individuals who lost more than 5 percent of their body weight, and that the effects were strongest in overweight individuals and in individuals with substantial weight loss.”
In my opinion, the best strategy to help prevent the development and progression of DJD or Osteoarthritis is a change in lifestyle dynamics. This would include a comprehensive exercise program (flexibility, cardio, core and muscle conditioning), an appropriate changes in diet with the addition of some key supplements.
Obviously weight management would be a very big part of this change in lifestyle strategy.
Dr. Kevin J. McLaughlin
The Vitality Project