It has taken a number of years to gather all the facts about osteoarthritis and find effective methods of treating it. Although we have a very good understanding nowadays of this disease, there is still a great deal we don’t know about it. For example, we still don’t have any cure for the disease. The underlying causes of osteoarthritis have not been completely clarified yet either. Fortunately, the research is continually making advances. One way to show this is happening is the new Osteoarthritis Day in the calendar. This is a day when new research results are slightly more in the spotlight in different ways and via different channels. So, what does the latest research on osteoarthritis actually show us?
The latest research on osteoarthritis is continuous
It has not been possible so far to come up with a cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are different ways of relieving the pain and stiffness caused by the disease. Although we don’t have any cure for it yet, we have a lot to thank the ongoing research for. One example is the information available nowadays about the symptoms of osteoarthritis, pain relievers, and preventive treatments.
The latest studies on osteoarthritis present new figures
New research from Lund University indicates that osteoarthritis is one of the most common diseases in Sweden nowadays. Studies also show that a dramatic rise is anticipated in the number of persons affected by osteoarthritis within the next 10-15 years. As many as one person in three over the age of 45 is expected to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The factors underlying this predicted increase are presumably a rise in obesity and the ever-growing lack of activity among the population, largely combined with us living for longer and longer.
The most common forms of osteoarthritis mainly affect the knee and hip joints. However, it is not uncommon to develop osteoarthritis in the fingers and/or feet, shoulders, elbows or jaw. The disease can occur in one or more of these joints at the same time, but can also restrict itself to a single finger or one of the knee joints. Regardless of where, when, and how osteoarthritis occurs, all the research and empirical data point to the fact that exercise is the best form of pain relief against the disease.
Henrik Owman, a researcher in orthopedics at Lund University, has previously produced a doctor’s thesis. This work describes a technique that was used to try to prove the existence of osteoarthritis at an earlier stage than has been possible up until now. The result of this work shows that the occurrence of osteoarthritis can be predicted as far back as six years before the disease is diagnosed.
Contrast-enhanced MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans have been studied when examining cartilage. This method may also be used as a prognosis tool for osteoarthritis in the future. One of the biggest problems with osteoarthritis is that the joint cartilage has already managed to break down and caused stiffness and pain before a diagnosis is made. For this reason, this technique would be extremely beneficial.
New research results in new treatment methods
One treatment method that there has been some talk about in recent years involves injecting new cartilage into the affected joint. However, this only offers temporary relief, provided that the intervention is successful. In fact, the new cartilage has just as great a risk of breaking down if those affected do not change their lifestyle. In other words, the best treatment is still to take care of your joints by doing more exercise and moving more in your everyday life.