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When you Live in Dread of Winter

Published: 17th December 2015 04:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th December 2015 04:56 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Many love winter since it offers a respite from heat and an excuse to snuggle into our beds for a little longer. But, for people who suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), the season is harrowing.

Dr Vasudev N Prabhu, consultant orthopedics, trauma and joint replacement surgeon, Apollo Hospital, says, “Osteoarthritis mostly affects  the cartilage. During winter, the pain becomes intolerable.”

Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over each other. It also helps absorb shock caused during movements. “The top layer of the cartilage breaks down and wears away. Bones under the cartilage rub against each other, and this causes pain and swelling. Over time, the joint loses its normal shape. Also, bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint,” says Dr Prabhu.

Types of osteoarthritis

Idiopathic OA- It has no identifiable cause. It may be localised (confined to one or two joints) or generalised (present in three or more joints).

Secondary OA - This can be caused by joint injuries; accumulation of calcium inside the joint; or a medical condition like diabetes.

Factors that can cause OA

Age-Advancing age is a common reason. About 80 per cent of people over the age of 55 have some x-ray evidence of this disorder. However, not all have joint pain.

Gender - Women are more prone to OA than men.

Obesity - Symptoms of OA can be seen in people who are obese.

Occupation - OA of the knee has been linked to certain occupations that require frequent squatting and kneeling, including cotton processing, dock work, shipyard work, and carpentry.

OA of the hip has been linked to farm work, construction work, and other activities that require heavy lifting, prolonged standing, or walking several miles each day.

Sports - Wrestling, boxing, pitching in baseball, cycling, parachuting, cricket, gymnastics, ballet dancing, soccer, and football can cause OA.

Symptoms

Dr Basavaraj CM, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, BGS Global Hospital, Bengaluru, says, “The symptoms of OA usually manifest after 40 years and can vary considerably from one person to another.” Some of the symptoms of OA include joint pain in the affected area, stiffness in morning, swelling (effusion) due to accumulation of excess fluid in the joint, crackling or grating sensation (crepitus), bony outgrowths (osteophytes)

Diagnosis

Symptoms of OA, the result of laboratory tests and x-rays reports are considered while diagnosing OA.

Treatment

The treatment plans involve regular exercise, weight control, proper rest and joint care, non-drug pain relief techniques, proper medication, surgery including replacing joints with the artificial joints. The average life span of an artificial joint is around 15-20 years. Most of these surgeries are performed on patients over the age of 60. But sometimes when younger patients require joint replacement, special bearing surfaces that last longer are used. “Once the artificial joint wears out, the patient has to go through joint replacement surgery again, which is relatively a major undertaking. To avoid this, the patient must make sure that the alignment is dome properly the very first time. This makes the artificial joint lasts longer” says

The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary considerably from one person to another. Regular exercise, weight control, proper rest, non-drug pain-relief techniques, joint replacing surgery can help patient get rid of the pain — Dr Basavaraj CM, consultant orthopaedic surgeon



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