Osteoarthritis, a condition proportional to the patient's age


Published in: Today Digital
Author: Dr. Rómulo Gómez, Orthopedic Surgeon and Traumatologist, Manager of Orthopedics of the General Hospital Plaza de la Salud.

Osteoarthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, can affect up to 80% of the population over 75 years. Being in this stratum of the population three times more frequent in women.

Osteoarthritis is the most frequent form of arthritis, remembering as a child hearing grandmothers refer to osteoarthritis as good rheumatism to make a difference with rheumatoid arthritis which they termed as bad rheumatism. Both conditions affect our joints and the anatomical elements in and around them, the most frequent presenting symptoms being joint pain and stiffness.

It is necessary to establish the difference between both arthropathies, given that their clinical course and degree of severity are markedly different, so their treatment will also be somewhat different, especially in the stage of clinical management of these conditions.

There is consensus among researchers that osteoarthritis is the product of attrition genetically programmed by the same organism through a mechanism of destruction or cell death (apoptosis) that the articular cartilage experiences which is verified over the years. This cartilage is the specialized tissue that covers the surface of the bones that are part of a joint, which is lubricated by a fluid produced by an intra-articular tissue called synovial membrane, which promotes smooth movement.

As we get older, the cartilage damage tends to progress and often, especially at the end of life, disappears completely, producing a direct contact between the bones, which is the main cause of pain, stiffness and inflammation. The prevalence of osteoarthritis is estimated at less than 1% in children under 30 years of age, around 10% at 40 years and more than 50% after 50 years).

The term arthritis refers to many joint processes that occur with joint inflammation, in some of which other organs and tissues can also participate. In this article we intend to call attention to the damage that arthrosis produces in the knees and hips, which frequently end up being surgically removed to replace them with the severe damage that the condition usually causes.

Osteoarthritis is commonly accompanied by pain, limitation of movement, rigidity, noises that accompany movement and the formation of bone or spurs on the periphery of the joint. Some patients may be asymptomatic even in the presence of obvious arthritic changes in an imaging study.

There are conditions that can considerably modify the evolutionary course of the condition such as: weight, trauma, infections, deformities, certain occupations, use, inheritance-family history. Similarly, other disorders can lead to arthrosis such as bleeding (frequent in hemophiliacs), bone infarcts due to blockage of blood vessels that end up producing avascular necrosis (very common in phenacemic patients) and gout, among others.

There are studies that show that muscle weakness makes those who suffer from it more prone to developing osteoarthritis, for example, the weakness of the quadriceps favors osteoarthritis of the knee; Moreover, it can cause it to progress rapidly if the weakness remains.

Likewise, excessive use and repetitive movements in certain practices, trades and occupations can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. For example, tasks that require bending the knees multiple times seem to be responsible for an increase in the rate of appearance of osteoarthritis in those who do these tasks.

Statistics show that osteoarthritis is more frequent in men up to 55 years, after this age is more common in women, reaching in some series, in the older groups, to report a ratio of three women for each man .

The maximum incidence of osteoarthritis occurs around the age of 45; However, in recent years we have seen a considerable increase in cases in the youngest as a result of injuries produced in youth associated with the practice of sports and high impact exercises.

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