See how to prevent osteoarthritis; cases soar around the world – 04/03/2024 – Balance

See how to prevent osteoarthritis;  cases soar around the world – 04/03/2024 – Balance

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Cases of osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that affects cartilage, have increased worldwide.

According to a study carried out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at the University of Washington, in the United States, approximately 1 billion people will suffer from osteoarthritis, its scientific name, in 2050.

The work, which analyzed individuals from more than 200 countries over 30 years and was published in the scientific journal The Lancet Rheumatology, also revealed that currently 15% of the population aged 30 and over have already started to show the first signs of the disease.

And it is not new that experts are following the growth in cases. Another survey, carried out by the American College of Rheumatology between 1990 and 2019, showed that there was a 113.25% jump in incidence in the period, going from 247.51 million to 527.81 million cases worldwide.

In Brazil, according to data from the Ministry of Health, 15 million Brazilians were diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Illness is responsible for 7.5% of all absences from work and is second among those that justify the use of sickness benefits. According to the ministry, it is the fourth most common disease to determine the need for retirement. The situation is so significant that the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics launched an osteoarthritis awareness movement at the end of last year.

What justifies the increase in cases?

Experts interviewed by Agência Einstein say that the growth in diagnoses is related to the aging of the population and other factors.

“The increase in obesity and sedentary lifestyle and the practice of impact physical activities are also related to the increase in cases”, says orthopedist Marcos Cortelazo, a doctor specializing in knee and sports traumatology and member of the Brazilian Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology (Sbot ) and the Latin American Society of Arthroscopy, Knee and Sports (Slard).

As cartilage wears away, experts explain, friction between the bones increases, which causes discomfort, pain, inflammation and deformation, making movement difficult and even impossible. Therefore, joint pain is the main symptom of osteoathritis. There may also be a limitation or impossibility of movement, cracking sounds and an increase in volume or deformity of the affected region.

“However, we frequently find radiographic signs of the disease in asymptomatic patients”, says rheumatologist Flavia Alexandra Guerrero, from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein.

“Osteoarthritis occurs due to an imbalance in the process of cartilage degradation and repair, which has mechanical, genetic, hormonal, bone and metabolic factors involved”, explains the doctor.

Generally associated with aging, despite affecting many young people, the disease is more common in joints that bear more weight, such as those in the feet, hips, spine and knees, the main target. Your treatment varies according to the severity of the case.

“In mild and moderate cases, the main objective is to control pain and inflammation and improve mobility. In patients with more advanced disease, surgery to replace the joints may be indicated”, explains orthopedist Cortelazo. He also highlights that the fight against this disease has been evolving through the development of substances that protect joints from friction, such as hyaluronic acid, and customized prosthetics.

Lifestyle changes

It is very important that non-pharmacological interventions are carried out so that the condition does not progress. “They range from patient awareness and education regarding the factors that trigger and aggravate the process, which involves treating obesity, carrying out monitored physical exercises, correcting specific changes, such as tendinopathies (a condition caused by due to degeneration or injury to tendons) and other structural injuries, to joint protection measures and the use of orthoses when necessary”, explains the Einstein rheumatologist.

Changing habits are also essential to prevent the disease from worsening or even triggering its onset. “Although there are hormonal and genetic factors involved in its pathology, a lot can be done with preventive measures when we promote a healthy lifestyle from childhood, with a balanced diet, regular sports and preventive medicine”, says the specialist.

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