Dr Milind Padgaonkar debunks a few of the numerous myths that surround Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, also known as ‘degenerative arthritis,’ contrary to popular belief, isn’t a disease that affects only older people. According to latest studies, early symptoms of a secondary condition can be found in relatively young people too. Injury, excess weight, an unhealthy lifestyle and genetic conditions are among the factors which cause the cartilage of a joint to wear away.
Even though it is one of the most prevalent diseases afflicting Indians, people perpetuate and harbour countless misconceptions relating to the condition its causes, effects and remedies. Dr Milind Padgaonkar, the consulting orthopedic surgeon at Lilavati Hospital, dispels a few.
Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are synonymous
The difference between the two is that Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones become more fragile due to a reduction in bone mineral density. The bones of an Osteoporosis patient have an increased susceptibility to fractures. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is a joint-disease caused by a loss of cartilage (a protein substance which acts as a ‘cushion’ between the bones of the joints) in the joints.
It affects only the old
One of the most common misconceptions about the disease is that it only affects older people. While the risk of osteoarthritis increases with age, it can affect individuals of all ages. In India, it is the second most prevalent disease in the younger generation in the age group of 25-30 years and affects more than 12 per cent of the population.
It cannot be treated
While there is still no cure yet for osteoarthritis, research shows that early diagnosis and appropriate management can help reduce the pain and disability associated with many types of arthritis.
Winter is the culprit
It is commonly believed that cold weather can cause osteoarthritis. The truth is that cold weather can only exacerbate joint pain and joint stiffness. Winter will not have any effect on the progression of the disease.
It isn’t in your Genes
Osteoarthritis is linked to genetics and is seen to be prevalent amongst women. They tend to develop it in the same joints and around the same age as their mothers.
High heels are high risk
People tend to believe that walking in high heels will lead to long-term damage of the knee and back. This isn’t true. Usage of inappropriate footwear causes pain in the spine thus leading to back pain.
Step up to burn calories
People believe using the staircase is a good exercise but unfortunately, it puts a load on the knees. This leads to pain which eventually causes osteoarthritis of the knee.
Source: Mumbai Mirror
Picture credit: Daily Mirror