When you think of arthritis, you think of the elderly it affects. We usually do not associate arthritis with children and young adults. Contrary to this misconception, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 300,000 children and young adults have reported that they have been diagnosed with arthritis. There are likely thousands of unreported cases, those whom have not been to a physician or health care provider, and therefore, not recognized in the statistics. Age is not a factor for arthritis; it can affect young and old alike.
Children and young adults face challenges that are entirely different than those that the older generations have to face. Children and young adults are less able to describe their symptoms, which may lead to a delayed diagnosis. Parents may attribute the pain to “growing pains” or dismiss them altogether. They are also in their most active years of life. Their peers do not understand their condition, and those affected may start to feel isolated from the friends.
preventive measures young people can take:
1. Lose weight, or at least avoid gaining. Extra pounds are awful on joints: They increase the burden on them, and have a destructive metabolic effect. A chemical related to obesity upsets the balance between the buildup and breakdown of cartilage, meaning the natural degradation of cartilage moves more quickly than the renewal process that’s supposed to restore it. The effect is a net loss that, over time, becomes osteoarthritis.
2. Do exercise that doesn’t damage joints. That includes low-impact biking and swimming, along with yoga and pilates, plus walking if it’s not too fast, and weightlifting, as long as it’s not stressful. If you walk, make sure you have comfortable shoes, and try to walk on surfaces that are relatively flat. Asphalt is better than concrete.
3. Watch your biomechanics. How you lift and carry various objects, or perform physical tasks, including playing sports, can make a big difference to the health of your joints. The back is the most obvious part of the body that can be strained, but nearly all joints can be damaged by poor biomechanics. For instance, something as simple as gardening can put stress on joints if you dig at the dirt with your fingers instead of using a proper tool. Proper mechanics while playing sports will do far more than improve your athletic performance. It also minimizes strain on joints from head to toe that can manifest later as osteoarthritis.
4. Prevent and treat injuries. Too many ankle sprains, or insufficient treatment following sprains, can put you on the road to arthritis in your ankles. And once you alter the mechanics of your ankles to compensate for that, you can begin a process where the mechanics of other joints are also altered, through your knees up to your hips, etc. So, take care of your injuries, whether to the ankles, knees, or elsewhere.
5. Taking supplements is also a potentially useful step. Glucosamine and chondroitin both show evidence of helping cartilage avoid deterioration, at least to a degree. There are also two relatively new supplements that have shown promise in trials: A.S.U (unsaponifiable part of avocado and soybean), and hyaluronic acid (H.A.). A recent study, Theodosakis points out, suggested that those supplements had no positive effect on joint pain. That, he asserts, is arguable but, even if true, mitigation of pain isn’t necessarily the same thing as diminishing the deterioration of cartilage. Theodosakis adds that evidence is strong that both supplements help diminish deterioration, is a positive result even if they don’t relieve pain. That positive is, he says, especially noteworthy in younger people, for whom pain is not an issue yet, but for whom preventing deterioration is.
About Dr. Raju Vaishya
Dr. (Prof.) Raju Vaishya , a surgeon of international repute, is best known for his swift surgical skills in the field of Orthopedic & Joint Replacement. He has been working at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi as a Professor and Senior consultant. He is the founder president of Arthritis Care Foundation. Apart from his distinguished clinical work in the field of arthroscopic and joint replacement surgery, he is well known for his academic contributions.
He has been awarded for the best paper publication on nu¬merous occasions by Delhi Orthopedic Association and Apollo Hospitals. His work was recognized in the Limca book of records in 2012, 2013 & 2015 for do¬ing bilateral Total Knee Replacement in 93 years old gentleman, bilateral Total Knee Replacement in the oldest couple in a single sitting, ACL reconstruction on oldest man.