Many baby boomers are having a tough time feeling “old,” as they are unable to hit the tennis courts or play basketball without their knees and hips aching a bit. This may be the onset of osteoarthritis and there are many individuals suffering from it.
According to The Huffington Post, 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis, which is the deterioration of cartilage tissue in the joints that is commonly associated with aging. This number is expected to jump to 67 million by 2030, when all of the baby boomers have turned 65.
There are a number of treatments for osteoarthritis, however once the cartilage deteriorates completely, it cannot be reproduced. Until then, patients can take anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers while also undergoing occupational therapy, according to the news source. Other treatment methods include getting injections of hyaluronic acid, which acts as a joint lubricate, and taking certain nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. These have been found to possibly help reduce osteoarthritis pain.
The next step for those who cannot find relief with conservative treatments is surgery. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 676,000 total knee replacements and 327,000 total hip replacements were conducted in 2009. Many of those who undergo a hip or knee replacement will need the help from a caregiver until they are well and gain their ability to move around again.
It is possible to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and help keep a person out of the operating room longer. Simple diet and exercise can keep people healthy longer. When it comes to exercise, biking, walking and swimming are the best options for osteoarthritis sufferers, Huff Post reports.