Osteoarthritis Increasing Due to Lifestyle

Osteoarthritis is basically a process of cartilage cells in joints dying. The prevailing theory is wear-and-tear of the joints over the years from living longer and obesity rates. But a new study from Dr. Jan Wallace in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University suggests our lifestyle is the biggest factor. Analyzing over 2000 skeletons from academic institutions and museums across America allowed Dr. Wallace to diagnose osteoarthritic joints. Closer examination of these joints revealed eburnation, a distinct polish that develops on the two bones from them rubbing together due to cartilage cell deterioration leading to bone-on-bone pressure.

Even though the study took into account statistical variables for changes over time, longevity, and body mass index there was an increase in the prevalence of osteoarthritis by 50% in the last 50 years. If our culture is becoming more sedentary, moving less and physical activity is on the decline and osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear phenomenon, then there should be a decrease in the numbers as we have become less active over the last 5 decades. Dr. Wallace?s data suggests that osteoarthritis is preventable by loading the joints by increasing the level of physical exercise. He also mentioned that mechanical loading has an accumulative effect on osteoarthritis,  as do pro-inflammatory foods.

When joints are properly aligned, allowing natural range of motion under appropriate loads, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles can grow stronger and thicker, reducing the probability of joint degeneration and decay. Every day you need to get out there and move because the sayings “motion is lotion” and “use it or lose it” applies even more today!

Study: http://www.pnas.org/content/114/35/9332.full

Written by Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Arise Chiropractic, Vernon BC

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