Osteoarthritis is one of the main factors of disability in older people around the world, as it is the most common type of joint disease. People usually associate osteoarthritis as a consequence of joint wear and tear over time, an inevitable part of aging, but this is not entirely true.
Recently, health experts are realizing that not only aging, but also people of all ages are susceptible to this disease. In addition to the normal wear and tear that occurs with age, osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, or other joints is caused by a wide range of factors that can affect people of all ages, including genetics, diet, bone density, and hormones in women, physical activity, occupational activity, injury and mechanical environment.
Recent studies have shown that some families and communities may have widespread trends in the development of a form of osteoarthritis. Ongoing research continues to look for a specific gene that is associated with disease vulnerability.
It has also been found that osteoarthritis is largely related to what people eat or not eat. Studies have shown that deficiencies in antioxidant vitamins such as E, C and A are associated with an increased risk of degenerative diseases, especially osteoarthritis. A high intake of vitamins, especially vitamin C, reduces the risk of osteoarthritis and knee pain. In addition, high levels of vitamin D have also shown better protection against disease.
Osteoarthritis of the knee also increases the incidence in postmenopausal women, suggesting a close relationship with this condition and estrogen deficiency. More recent research takes into account changes in bone density that combine with hormonal changes that occur in postmenopausal women, making women in this age group more vulnerable to the disease than others.
There are no reports of people increasing the risk of osteoarthritis with normal physical activity; however, it has been found that elite middle-aged athletes involved in contact sports are more susceptible to this disease. The risk of developing knee osteoarthritis was found to be higher among runners, soccer players, and tennis players compared to people of the same age group who had average physical activity.
It has been found that people whose work requires overuse of knee joints are more susceptible to knee osteoarthritis. Occupations such as mining, carpentry, painting (infrastructure), docking, and others that require workers to bend, kneel, bend over and lift heavy loads put abnormal stress on the knee joints, leaving the cartilage vulnerable to damage … The risks are the same for men and women.
It was also noted that people who had knee injuries, especially those with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, were more prone to knee osteoarthritis. The same is true for people whose unusual positioning of the limbs makes them a mechanical environment conducive to joint degeneration.