Did you know there are over 100 types of arthritis? That’s right! And Of these, knee osteoarthritis is the most common. First off, osteoarthritis is age-related joint damage from wear and tear. But there is more to it than that. It’s not only about your joints becoming worn. Many other things play a role also, such as your age, weight, genetics, and lifestyle. And, recent studies show that environmental factors play more of a role than genetics.
Shockingly, nearly half of all people will be affected by knee osteoarthritis in their life! And, this condition is also the reason over 700,000 people need knee replacements. So, what is the story behind this common joint disease?
The Arthritis-Obesity Connection
Your weight influences your overall health. Now, we all know that’s no secret. Excess weight is a risk factor for osteoarthritis. The recent increase in osteoarthritis cases is thought to be linked to obesity. This makes sense since levels of obesity have also risen. Studies also show that moderate weight loss can reduce joint symptoms. And in many cases, you can even avoid surgery. But, there is even more to the knee osteoarthritis story.
Challenging Assumptions of Knee Osteoarthritis
Studies were performed on skeletons regarding the presence of knee osteoarthritis. Age, body mass, and cause of death were all noted. Data was collected on 1,500 bodies. These people died between 1905 and 1940. Then, another 800 bodies were collected from 1976 to 2015. The third group of skeletons was studied. These were prehistoric individuals and early farmers. What the studies showed was significant!
Prehistoric skeletons and those of the early 1900 bodies were similar. On the other hand, the most recent ones had close to double the rate of knee osteoarthritis! And the post-industrial skeletons had less osteoarthritis than those of earlier centuries.
While the study had limitations, the findings were beneficial. Certain assumptions are no longer valid as a result. Reasons we thought osteoarthritis is more common may not be accurate. It seems that slowing obesity may not have the positive impact that we thought. So if excess weight is not the cause, then what is?
Why is knee osteoarthritis more common now than ever?
Possible causes include:
- Inactive lifestyles
- Walking on hard pavement
- High-heeled shoes
These recent studies have raised new questions. There is still a great deal to learn about knee osteoarthritis. Specifically, why it’s becoming more prevalent. A better understanding of how the condition occurs is necessary. Only afterward, prevention and treatment can be further developed.
Are you searching for a top knee specialist in South Florida? Call our specialists at Spine & Orthopedic Center at 888-409-8006.