Joint pain, swelling and creaking in the joints can be signs of arthrosis, the fourth leading cause of reduced quality of life. According to the Ministry of Health, arthrosis affects 15 million people in Brazil alone and can affect mainly older people.
The rheumatologist at the NotreDame Intermédica Group, Dr. Ana Paula Luppino Assad, explains that arthrosis is a process of degeneration of the cartilage of several joints: “The most affected joints are knees, hips, spine and hands. As the disease is more degenerative than inflammatory, it mainly affects people over 50. When it is at hand, it can be earlier ”.
There are no definite causes for osteoarthritis. “Genetic components, obesity and even previous joint trauma are involved in the development and progression of osteoarthritis. Anything that overloads the joint can lead to cartilage degeneration ”, explains the rheumatologist. For example, obesity causes the body to support a much greater weight than it is capable of. This causes more friction in the cartilage site, which wears out. With that, the bones start to collide directly and, consequently, become more worn.
Arthrosis can present as symptoms pain in the affected joints, swelling, limited movement and burning in some points, and pain at the beginning of the movement. “For example, someone is sitting for a while and feels pain when they get up and that improves after the first steps”, explains the expert.
When the arthrosis is in the knee, it is common to have a few clicks when moving them; when it is in the hands, there may be greater volume of the finger joints.
The diagnosis is clinical: the doctor analyzes the symptoms, the age and if the joint is inflamed. When in doubt, the specialist may order some tests, such as radiography or MRI, to prove the diagnosis.
Arthritis X Arthrosis
Many confuse arthrosis with arthritis, but although the two affect the joints, they differ in many ways. “Arthritis is synonymous with inflammation of the joint, whereas osteoarthritis, or osteoarthritis, is the wear and tear of the joint.” Arthritis can be caused by several autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, gout, as well as it can also be a consequence of arthrosis, that is, someone who has wear and tear on the joints can also develop inflammation.
Another differentiation is that arthritis mainly affects fingers, wrists and feet and ankles, as arthrosis is more linked to aging and affects joints that support more weight, such as hips, knees and spine.
Anyone who is predisposed to having the disease needs to avoid being overweight. This is because, “in addition to overloading the joint, the fatty tissue causes the body to produce more inflammation”, says Dr. Ana Paula. It is important to exercise and adopt a healthy diet: the more muscles the person has, the less bone and joint overload.
Arthrosis has no cure, but behavioral habits such as exercise, physiotherapy, pilates, water aerobics and diets can delay the development and progression of the disease. In addition, there are some remedies, such as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, and collagens have some benefits. The use of anti-inflammatories and / or corticosteroids may be indicated in cases of acute inflammation, but always under medical supervision, due to possible harmful effects, such as decompensation of hypertension, renal failure, which are common diseases in this age group.