Dealing with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis does not only occur at the knees or hips but also the finger joints and the joint at the base of your thumb or big toe.

As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) affects 20% of people over the age of 50 globally. Also known as degenerative joint disease, OA can also affect people in their 20s or 30s.

Often times, the female gender is more susceptible to OA, especially after the age of 45. For men, however, it occurs more frequently before they reach 45.

In Malaysia, research has uncovered key insights into the disease, as revealed by Prof Tan Maw Pin, a professor in geriatric medicine from Universiti Malaya who also serves as adjunct professor at Sunway University.

While research shows various main factors leading to disability from OA including being overweight or obese, as well as joint cartilage degeneration or wear and tear, Prof Tan added that there is evidence to show correlation between OA and lifestyle choices.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so it’s good to take a look at some of the factors that lead to OA including being overweight – which puts additional pressure on your hips and knees – as well as injury and overuse as repetitive movements or injuries to the joints can also lead to OA.

Signs Of Osteoarthritis

Mostly occurring in your hips, knees and spine, there have been cases where OA affects the finger joints and the joint at the base of your thumb or big toe.

Those who suffer from OA in the knee would typically complain of joint stiffness or gelling for more than 30 minutes. This is usually after some time of inactivity or waking up in the morning.

Another symptom is experiencing pain or aches in the knee joint. This is usually during or after an activity such as walking up or down the stairs. The intensity of pain usually reduces after the sufferer rests. Knee pain that wakes you up at night can happen in severe OA cases.

You might even experience crepitus – joint sound during movement, like a pop, a click or a grind – when you move if you have OA; or the joint may be swollen and inflamed or you may be restricted in your movements.

Besides sugar management, OA patients should strive for a healthy body weight, maintain an acceptable range of blood pressure and lipid profile while doing regular exercise.

Patients suffering from OA are encouraged to carry out low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling and walking. Such exercises can help to maintain and improve muscle strength.

With stronger muscles, it can support and protect the joints that are affected by OA. High-impact exercises such as running, hiking or squatting is a big no-no for OA patients, as it can cause the cartilage to break down further.

Newly diagnosed patients with OA should seek advice from any healthcare professionals like a doctor or a pharmacist and get it treated immediately.

Those suffering from OA can also search for medication with an active ingredient known as crystalline glucosamine sulphate. Clinically proven with long-term safety data and safe for consumption for those who require blood sugar control, this active ingredient can help to reduce joint pain and improve joint function.

In the long run, consistent intake can help to modify joint structure and potentially reduce the risk of having to go for surgery.

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