Osteoarthritis on rise in young: Doctor on surprising causes, common symptoms | Health - Hindustan Times
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Osteoarthritis on rise in young: Doctor on surprising causes, common symptoms

Mar 24, 2022 12:48 PM IST

Osteoarthritis has mostly been associated with old age as our general bone health tends to go down as we age. But in the near past, this disorder has become quite common in the young.

Osteoarthritis, the degenerative disease of the bones, can make one's life really tough. The disease progressively diminishes your joint health creating mobility issues and leads to debilitating pain. Osteoarthritis has mostly been associated with old age as our general bone health tends to go down as we age. But in the near past, this disorder has become quite common in the young. (Also read: Prevent knee arthritis with these simple lifestyle changes)

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time.(Unsplash)
Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time.(Unsplash)

According to experts previously, the development of osteoarthritis was found in people between the age of 55 and 60, but this has changed recently and now people in the age group of 35-45 are increasingly being diagnosed with it. 

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The reason behind this shift is our changing lifestyle, note experts. Sedentary lifestyle, obesity, sitting for longer hours can play havoc with our bone and joint health. The cartilage surrounding the bones wears out due to excess weight or lack of physical activity combined with poor diet. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

"A disturbingly high number of youths with stage-2 degeneration were walking into the OPDs nowadays," says Dr. Biren Nadkarni, Sr. Consultant Orthopedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Sitaram Bhartia Institute and Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi.

Dr Nadkarni feels the main cause of increasing cases of osteoarthritis among youth in pandemic times is work-from-home culture. "The sitting jobs in front of a screen for more than 6 hours, lack of exercise, weight gain, ease of eating anything, and low exposure to sunlight are the main causes of osteoarthritis among the youth," says the expert.

Every month, Dr. Biren Nadkarni says he sees at least ten patients in their 30s. "The statistics are only going up. We’re also seeing a lot of younger patients with patella-femoral arthritis, which is inflammation of the knee cap and obesity is to be blamed. Arterial knee discomfort is found in such circumstances. While they may not experience discomfort while walking, they do experience difficulty when kneeling or using the stairs," he noted.

Potential causes of osteoarthritis in young

* Sedentary or inactive lifestyle

* Sitting for prolonged hours

* Heavy lifting (possibly with poor technique, but not always)

* Working in an office with a lot of sitting at a desk/computer

* Being overweight or obese

* Being very active (running a lot of marathons, for example)

* Playing impact sports like rugby or football

* Joint injuries

* Birth deformities such as hip dysplasia or legs of various lengths

* Hormone issues that impact growth

* Diabetes

* A family history of osteoarthritis

Do not ignore the following signs and symptoms:

Apart from chronic joint pain, other symptoms may include:

* Discomfort, swelling, or redness around a joint

* Mobility issues

* Tension near a joint

* Exhaustion (lack of energy) or weakness

* Depression

* Fever

Osteoarthritis in children

"Additionally, old and untreated injuries are frequently the cause of osteoarthritis in children, but we are increasingly seeing a lot more cases in persons under the age of 30. Foods high in oxidants, such as junk food and fried foods are bad for cartilage. Obesity is also a significant risk factor for osteoarthritis," says Dr Nadkarni.

Prevention

"It's recommended not to ignore any joint problems if they begin to impede one's walking style or limit regular activities. In such instances, it is critical to seek quick assistance." Dr. Nadkarni emphasized.

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