Patrick McKenna, Editor for The Times-Tribune recently sent me copy of a press release regarding a warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the prevalence of arthritis will increase significantly by 2030. Pat, a true baby boomer, is an exercise and sports enthusiast who is working hard to fight the aging process. He had some serious concerns about this news and asked if I might address this topic in one of my columns.
A recent report from data collected by the CDC indicated that increases in arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are evident. They project a nationwide increase in arthritic conditions from 46 million adults to 67 million adults by 2030. These numbers will have a significant social and economic impact on the United States. Socially, people affected will have greater limitations in activity level and independence. They will rely on others such as family and professional caregivers to a greater degree. Economically, these people will be using more health care dollars for adaptive equipment, medication, rehabilitation, health care staff and joint replacement surgery.
The cause the skyrocketing prevalence of arthritis is multifaceted, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and aging baby boomers are the primary reasons for this trend. The Arthritis Foundation offers several steps to reduce the likelihood of pain and lifestyle limitations from arthritis including education, early diagnosis, diet and exercise for weight control and lifestyle changes.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis. It is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is usually a gradual, slow and progressive process of “wear and tear” to the cartilage in the knee joint which eventually wears down to the bony joint surface. It is most often found in middle-aged and older people and in weight bearing joints such as the hip, knee and ankle.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis in which many joints of the body can be affected. It is very destructive to the cartilage, joint and tissues surrounding the joint. It can occur at any age and usually effects both knees.
Post-Traumatic Arthritis is a form of arthritis that can occur following a trauma or injury to the knee. It is a form of osteoarthritis that is triggered years after a fracture, ligament or cartilage injury.
In the early stages your treatment will be a conservative, nonsurgical approach, which may include; anti-inflammatory medication, orthopedic physical therapy, exercise, activity modifications, supplements, bracing, etc. You and your family physician, orthopedic surgeon or rheumatologist will decide which choices are best.
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
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This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: email@example.com
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Scranton, PT Dept.