Age-old arthritis slowing down young India - The New Indian Express

Age-old arthritis slowing down young India

Published: 10th November 2012 12:39 PM

Last Updated: 10th November 2012 12:39 PM

If you think your grandmother keeps unnecessarily cribbing about pain in her knees, don’t fret.

It could well happen to you any day -- thanks to the modern day urban lifestyle.

Primary Osteoarthritis, a common ailment seen in people above 65 years, according to orthopedic experts, is increasingly afflicting younger population in the age group of 35-55 across the country in general and in the city in particular.

Dr AS Rao, consultant Orthopedic surgeon, KIMS Hospital and former principal and professor of Orthopedics, Gandhi Medical College, is certain that this trend can be attributed to our lifestyle.

According to him, Osteoarthritis, which is the most prevalent form of arthritis and the leading cause of disability in India, affects over 15 million Indians each year.

“About 20 years ago, Osteoarthritis was known as a degenerative disease primarily affecting those above the age of 65.

Now it is increasingly affecting a much younger patient profile.

Knee Osteoarthritis is basically a case of degeneration of articular cartilage that acts as a cushion between bones and in joints.

The two types are primary and secondary.

Those age related ailments without any particular cause fall under the first category whereas secondary osteoarthritis is seen among youngsters, mostly those in the field of sports,” Dr Rao explains.

Interestingly, the cases in India are mostly related to lower limb joints unlike western countries where cases of both hip-joints and lower-limb joints are equally prevalent.

So, what is the solution? There is a new treatment option for the young, called Single Shot Viscosupplementation, which provides relief up to 12 months.

Besides, there are the other options like pain killer drugs, knee replacement surgery, weight reduction methods etc.

But Dr Rao points out that there is nothing better than regular exercise and a healthy diet.

“Exercise is a must even if the patient goes for knee replacement surgery.

Those exercises that strengthen thigh muscles have to be done,” he stresses.

Further, citing an example of his own relative, he says those with pain in the knee should avoid doing yoga, particularly Vajrasana, which puts the knee under immense pressure.

Explaining about Viscosupplementation, he says, “it is an innovative treatment that uses a biological substance to lubricate and cushion the diseased knee joint enabling pain relief and allowing easy movement and increased flexibility.

This technique is generally suggested for people who are too young for a joint replacement.

It has no side-effects and costs only Rs15,000-16,000 as compared to joint replacement surgeries that cost anything between Rs 1,30,000 and Rs 1,75,000.

” Moreover, the life span of a joint replacement is only 20 years.

The results of the first Indian study on the efficacy of single shot Viscosupplementation called OASIS presented at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) 2012 shows that the treatment is beneficial in reducing knee pain for up to 12 months and is advisable for a second dose also.

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