Joint wear and tear: the biggest risk factors
If the osteoarthritis has progressed, further symptoms may occur: Pain on starting movement Pain even at night or when resting Stiffness of the joints Weather-dependent pain (especially when it is wet or cold) Swelling and redness Sensitivity to pressure in the joints Cracking joints
Most go to the doctor late
At first the joints are only a little stiff, later they also hurt at the beginning of a movement. Since the pain usually subsides again, many do not go to the doctor. A mistake, because the earlier osteoarthritis is treated, the longer the joints can be kept mobile.
4. Which joints are affected?
Which joints can be affected by osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. Osteoarthritis of the knee (gonarthrosis), hip joint arthrosis (coxarthrosis) and osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint (ACG arthrosis) are particularly common. But the spine (spondylarthrosis), ankle joints, fingers and toes can also be affected.
5. Treatment and Therapy
Is osteoarthritis incurable?
The consequences of the cartilage abrasion can no longer be reversed. This means that osteoarthritis cannot be cured. However, there are a number of therapies and treatments that can help with osteoarthritis. The following are suitable for this:
Hot and cold applicationsSports that are gentle on the jointsMuscle exercisesTreatment with pain preparations by the doctorCortisone treatment by the doctorOperationHyaluronic acidHealthy dietLower blood sugar and fat levelsTherapy with natural remediesAcupunctureOwn blood therapyTherapy with leeches
Cortisone – sensible therapy for osteoarthritis?
Many medical professionals consider cortisone to be the best way to treat joint inflammation in osteoarthritis. It is usually given by the doctor using an injection. Very often, however, cortisone must not be injected because of the threat of side effects. The doctor first draws the fluid from the painful joint and then injects the cortisone. This has an anti-inflammatory effect and stops the fluid production of the mucous membranes, so that the swelling slowly subsides. Depending on the duration and severity of the inflammation, this process is repeated up to three times at an interval of around six weeks.
Warning: cortisone has side effects
The disadvantage of treating osteoarthritis with cortisone is that it cannot be used indefinitely. There are serious side effects. After cortisone therapy that is too frequent or too high, the body often looks bloated and the patient gains weight. In addition, the muscles can break down, the skin thin and redden. Damage to the articular cartilage was also observed. Blood sugar, blood lipids and blood pressure often reach unhealthy values after treatment with cortisone for osteoarthritis and other diseases. In addition, cortisone affects the body’s hormonal balance. In addition to the health risks and side effects, cortisone injections can also cause skin damage and aesthetic problems. If the doctor misses the joint and injects the cortisone into fatty tissue, this can be destroyed in the process. Permanent dents in the skin are often the result.
Hyaluronic acid is said to make joints pain-free
Roughly speaking, hyaluronic acid acts like a lubricant to make the cartilage more lubricious. The abrasion of the cartilage is dampened or even stopped. In addition, the hyaluronic acid should also have an anti-inflammatory effect and alleviate the pain at least for a while. The therapy is used in particular for knee osteoarthritis. But this therapy is also possible in principle for hip osteoarthritis or problems in the shoulder or ankle area. The doctor injects the substance directly into the affected joint. However, treatment with hyaluronic acid is often only promising in patients with early-stage osteoarthritis. Inquire with your doctor whether this form of therapy is an option.
Hyaluron therapy: Relief often only takes weeks
During treatment, a total of one, three or five syringes are injected over a period of time. However, it is not usually clear after the first injection whether the desired effect is actually achieved. Sometimes patients even wait weeks for pain relief.
Study: effectiveness of hyaluronic acid unclear
Half of the patients in the study reported improvement after therapy, but experts disagree on whether hyaluronic acid really helps with osteoarthritis. Scientific studies cannot prove the desired effects of the drug either. The more thoroughly the studies were carried out, "the less effective the hyaluronic acid actually was", according to the cartilage researcher Dr. Peter Cornelius Kreuz from the Rostock University Hospital in a documentary by NDR.
Risks and costs of hyaluron therapy
Treatment with hyaluronic acid can reduce the pain over a certain period of time, but the cartilage does not regenerate.argumentative essay tips If the joint is misaligned, it should be corrected prior to therapy. If the affected joint is inflamed, treatment should be avoided altogether. Since the healing effects of hyaluronic acid in osteoarthritis have not been scientifically proven, patients have to bear the costs of the therapy themselves. Five injections cost up to 250 euros.
Proven: Acupuncture can relieve pain
Acupuncture for osteoarthritis can provide lasting pain relief. A British study gives hope to patients for whom an artificial knee joint has so far been seen as the last resort. A total of 114 osteoarthritis patients took part in the study, many of whom had suffered from osteoarthritis for more than five years. According to the scientists, the study proves that acupuncture is an effective, alternative form of therapy for osteoarthritis. The results make it clear that the healing method does not show success in all patients – and if so, then not over a long period of time. But at least knee surgery can be postponed in this way, it said. However, it is precisely at this point that the study meets with criticism, reports the "mirror": The client, British health authorities, had the goal of reducing the number of surgical interventions. Despite the weaknesses of the study, it can be concluded that acupuncture is a sensible alternative to surgery for some patients. Accordingly, the statutory health insurance companies in Germany also cover a certain number of corresponding therapy sessions.
Don’t go easy: movement stops cartilage loss
To avoid pain, many of those affected put as little strain on their joints as possible. Patients sit and lie a lot instead of moving. But that is exactly what is counterproductive. The less the joints are moved, the faster the cartilage breaks down. Regular training, on the other hand, strengthens the muscles, maintains mobility and thus helps to positively influence the course of the disease. Even if it is difficult to move with pain, experts advise exercising through gentle sports. For example, cycling, swimming, gymnastics or yoga are ideal.
6. Diet for osteoarthritis
Normal weight relieves osteoarthritis symptoms
Experts suggest that reducing fat also decreases the amount of inflammatory substances in the body. Since these are formed in the fat cells, losing weight promotes the reduction in free radicals. If you feel the first signs of osteoarthritis and are significantly above normal weight, a mixture of healthy, vitamin-rich diet on the one hand and exercise that is gentle on the joints on the other hand is the first step to combat osteoarthritis.
Tips for a healthy diet against osteoarthritis
A change in diet can have a positive effect on the course of osteoarthritis. Ideally, it stops the ongoing process. Silica-rich foods such as wholegrain rice, millet, oat flakes, bananas or potatoes with their skin are suitable to inhibit osteoarthritis. These foods stimulate the metabolism in the cartilage and thus contribute to regeneration and protection. Fruits, salads, vegetables, spelled, skimmed milk products, cold-pressed oils and cold-water fish such as squid, trout, cod, halibut or oysters also have a positive effect.
Osteoarthritis: Everything you need to know about the topic Simple tips: How to relieve joint pain Joint wear and tear: The greatest risk factors Cartilage loss: How you can stop osteoarthritis
Vitamin C and spices support the joints
If you suffer from inflammatory joints, you can enrich your food with anti-inflammatory herbs. Spices such as turmeric, parsley, fennel, dill, anise, cumin, mint, chervil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, coriander, marjoram, chilli, cinnamon and ginger are suitable for this. Make sure you get as many micronutrients as possible through food. These can be healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E or vitamin C. The latter is particularly helpful in the fight against osteoarthritis. Rose hips and sea buckthorn, for example, contain a lot of the healthy substance.
Dietary supplements stop osteoarthritis
In addition to a healthy diet, nutritional supplements can help stop osteoarthritis. Since joint cartilage naturally consists of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin, nutrients such as horsetail concentrate, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and collagen hydrolyzate help. These supplements are available from pharmacies. If used for a few months, these can help slow down the wear and tear of cartilage. However, consult your doctor beforehand.
Study: high blood sugar promotes inflammatory processes
Ultrasound examinations of a study showed that joint wear and tear in the diabetic population was significantly more advanced than was to be expected based on age and body weight. The researchers suspect that the reason for this connection are inflammatory processes in the joint cartilage, which are promoted by an increased concentration of blood sugar. In addition, the diabetes also affects nerves. This damage can lead to incorrect loads and malpositions and also play a role in the course of the disease. This means that even slightly elevated blood sugar levels could be damaging to the joints.
7. Test your osteoarthritis risk
Take the test: How high is your personal risk of osteoarthritis?
Take a few minutes and take Dr. Jürgen Fischer from the Orthopedic Center in Darmstadt: The future risk of hip and knee osteoarthritis is to be predicted with a new, simple blood test. The online test provides information about your personal osteoarthritis risk. Test here
Cologne (dpa / tmn) – Even if it hurts at first: People with knee osteoarthritis need exercise. Strengthening and flexibility exercises could relieve pain, strengthen the joints and improve their function, explains the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWIG) on its portal.
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45 minutes two to three times a week are ideal. For people with joint pain, it is particularly important to choose a workout that is fun – that’s the only way to stick with it.
Those affected do not necessarily have to go to a gym. After a short warm-up program at home – for example five to ten minutes of brisk walking – IQWIG suggests these two exercises for the leg muscles:
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– Put one foot on the first step of a flight of stairs. Now lift the other foot onto the step and immediately lower it back to the floor. Do the exercise for a minute, then switch sides.
– Sit on a chair with your legs slightly apart at a 90-degree angle. Cross your arms in front of your chest and bend your upper body slightly. Then slowly get up and sit down again. Hold for one minute, take a short break, then gradually increase the practice time.
Tips against joint wear and tear: What really helps with knee osteoarthritis
Especially at the beginning you may experience slight pain with such exercises. On a scale of personal pain perception from zero to ten, however, they should not be greater than a five. Also important: The pain should not last for hours and the joints should not be swollen the next day. If this is the case, the training should be adjusted with fewer repetitions or lighter exercises. It is helpful to ask a specialist whether the exercises are being carried out correctly. The attending doctor or physiotherapist also helps with the choice of exercise program.
Most people want to spend their last time at home. But they often die in the hospital. That would be different – if the hurdle to timely palliative care were not so high.
Death, an uncomfortable subject for many. Senior physician Philipp von Trott knows that a palliative care unit not only requires medical skills: "Several times I’ve seen a wife say to me: ‚I know I’m going to die. But just don’t tell my husband. ‚"
The husband then said: "I know she’s going to die, but don’t tell my wife – she doesn’t know about it." Von Trott then arranges an open conversation with the two of them. The relief after the exchange is mostly indescribable.
Why more people are dying in the hospital than they should be
People with an incurable disease come to a palliative ward like the one in the Havelhöhe community hospital in Berlin. "Our job is to ensure that patients have the best possible quality of life for as long as possible", so from Trott.