The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis (OA). The second most common type is Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis has drugs that may ease the pain and slow progression of the disease but it cannot be prevented. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, can be prevented but currently, there are no drugs to treat this condition. Both effect more women than men. Generally, it is common in more older women than older men, but this difference tapers of with increasing age.
Dr. David Felson, MD MPH of Boston University has published 140 papers on this subject. His research on Osteoarthritis has been funded with National Institute of Health (NIH) peer – reviewed funding. He is optimistic that Osteoarthritis is preventable with long – term life – style changes. Unfortunately, there are no drugs to treat Osteoarthritis right now. Pain killers are prescribed to deal with the pain but they have their own side reactions.
Dr Felson says that losing weight is one way to prevent OA. Even if you are of normal weight, losing a little more weight to become thin can actually benefit, and is especially good for the knees. Eating Vit K rich and Vit C rich food and raising exposure to Vit D can also be preventive. One such food suggested is Broccoli. Exercise such as joining the gym and doing yoga is very helpful in both losing weight and keeping the joints in motion. Physical therapists may be able to advice on very effective exercises to not only prevent development of OA but to alleviate the pain from OA without using pain killers.
Research may reveal genetic biomarkers to identify which segment of the population is most likely to develop OA and then they could begin preventive processes earlier specifically for prevention of OA. In the meantime, exercise for fun and prevention, lose weight, eat Vit K rich foods like Broccoli and increase exposure to Vit D by taking every opportunity to step outside and stretch.
Since there is no current therapy, surgery is the only resource but effective. Stem cell research is showing promise in building cartilage.