My mother was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. She has been on the heavier side and so have I. She worries I might mirror her health ailments and keeps asking me to drink milk and take calcium supplements and lose weight. Does it really work that way?
Osteoarthritis tends to run in families, indicating a hereditary factor. A number of studies have shown that there is a greater prevalence of the disease among siblings and especially identical twins, indicating a hereditary basis. Up to 60 per cent of osteoarthritis cases are thought to result from genetic factors.
The most common symptom is pain and swelling. Creaking and stiffness of the joints can also occur after long periods of inactivity. It is usually diagnosed by x-rays, arthrocentesis and arthroscopy.
Most people usually try conservative measures like rest, exercise, diet control with weight reduction, physical therapy and occupational therapy, and mechanical support devices, such as knee braces. In fact, even modest weight reduction can help to decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis of the large joints, such as the knees and hips.
Medications are used to complement physical measures.
As for calcium supplements and milk, they don’t usually help in osteoarthritis, they’re good for osteoporosis which is basically porous bones. But there are certain medications available for cartilage which your doctor can prescribe in osteoarthritis.
Since you are only 26 don’t live in fear! Take control of your weight, start exercising, dieting and meet a doctor for some medication or direction.
The writer is a gynaecologist and obstetrician practising at Happy Women Clinic. You can write in to her at firstname.lastname@example.org