Thursday, May 5, 2022

Osteoarthritis of the hip doesn’t just affect older adults

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LIam Gallagher recently revealed he has arthritis, leaving him in excruciating pain and the realization he will likely need hip surgery. Most people associate arthritis with age, but Gallagher is only 49 years old. So how unusual is it to develop such severe arthritis before old age? Well, it depends on the type of arthritis.

While there are a number of different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common. Osteoarthritis is common in older people but can also develop in younger people.

A number of factors have been linked to the development of osteoarthritis, including age, obesity, an injury (e.g. a torn ACL in the knee – a common condition in footballers) and genetic susceptibility. In Gallagher’s case, it could be related to Hashimoto’s disease – a thyroid condition he was diagnosed with a few years ago. Hashimoto’s disease is associated with arthritis.

Unlike rheumatoid arthritis — an autoimmune disease that can affect younger adults — osteoarthritis develops when the shock-absorbing cartilage that covers the end of the bone wears away. Osteoarthritis is often referred to as a “disease of the cartilage”. In fact, the absence of cartilage confirms the presence of osteoarthritis. In fact, however, it is a disease that affects the entire structure of the joint, including changes to bones and soft tissues such as ligaments.

The origins of the pain experienced by people with osteoarthritis have been difficult to pinpoint, and this is one of the reasons it can be difficult to manage. Pain is thought to occur for a number of reasons, including changes in the bone that lead to the growth of bone spurs known as “osteophytes” and inflammation of the tissue lining the inside of the joint, called ” synovial membrane”.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, where treatment has been revolutionized in recent decades with new drugs that target and suppress the immune response, similar developments for the treatment of osteoarthritis have yet to emerge.

For most people with osteoarthritis, the biggest challenge is keeping the joint functional while managing chronic pain. Making lifestyle changes early when the condition is diagnosed, such as B. Losing weight and exercise to strengthen the supporting muscles can help keep the joint longer. However, the condition is progressive, and for many people, joint replacement is a last resort.

Advances in modern medicine mean that hip or knee replacement surgeries are becoming routine and often provide a pain-free, functioning joint. The joint replacement consists of metal (usually titanium) on plastic. And although it eventually wears out, many people’s artificial joint is still strong after 15 or even 20 years.

While most of us think that having surgery would be a piece of cake, some people are put off by the fact that it is an invasive procedure that requires months of recovery and physical therapy to fully repair the joint to be able to use. So deciding whether or not to replace a joint can be difficult – as it seems to be with Gallagher. In an interview with Mojo magazine, the former Oasis frontman said: “I think I’d rather just be in pain. Which of course is ridiculous. I know that.”

Other considerations include the age at which you have a joint replaced. At 49, Gallagher is young for this type of surgery. And the younger the person, the more likely their replacement joint will wear out over their lifetime and require a second surgery.

On the plus side, joint replacement surgery can be life-changing, rendering the person pain-free and restoring joint function and mobility. While it is applicable to anyone suffering from arthritis, it is particularly relevant to younger patients like Gallagher, as it can enable them to continue working and maintain an active lifestyle.

Anne Crilly is Lecturer in Immunology at the University of the West of Scotland. This article first appeared on The conversation.

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