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Science Technology


Osteoarthritis, a long-term chronic disease affects joints in knees, hands, feet, and spine

Osteoarthritis, a long-term chronic disease affects joints in knees, hands, feet, and spine

Kolkata, Aug 27 (UNI) Osteoarthritis (OA) is a long-term chronic disease characterized by the deterioration of cartilage in joints which results in bones rubbing together and creating stiffness, pain, and impaired movement.

The disease most commonly affects the joints in the knees, hands, feet, and spine and is relatively common in shoulder and hip joints. While OA is related to ageing, it is also associated with a variety of both modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors, including: obesity, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, bone density, occupational injury, trauma, and gender.

Osteoarthritis is the single most common cause of disability in older adults An estimated 10 to 15 per cent of all adults aged over 60 have some degree of OA, with prevalence higher among women than men.

The prevalence of OA is increasing due to population ageing and an increase in related factors such as obesity.

There are two types of osteoarthritis: primary and secondary.

Primary osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease that is related to, but not caused by, aging. As a person ages, the water content of their cartilage decreases, thus weakening it and making it less resilient and more susceptible to degradation. There are strong indications that genetic inheritance is a factor, as up to 60 per cent of all OA cases are thought to result from genetic factors.

Secondary arthritis tends to show up earlier in life, often due to a specific cause such as an injury, a job that requires kneeling or squatting for extended amounts of time, diabetes, or obesity. But though the aetiology is different than that of primary OA, the resulting symptoms and pathology are the same.

According to the United Nations, by 2050 people aged over 60 will account for more than 20 per cent of the world’s population. Of that 20 per cent, a conservative estimate of 15 per cent will have symptomatic OA, and one-third of these people will be severely disabled.

This means that by 2050, 130 million people will suffer from OA worldwide, of whom 40 million will be severely disabled by the disease. Costs associated with OA include costs for adaptive aids and devices, medicines, surgery, and time off at work.

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