Magazine article USA TODAY

Cartilage Care Decreases Risk

Magazine article USA TODAY

Cartilage Care Decreases Risk

Article excerpt

Osteoarthritis, the wear and tear of joints, is a common painful disease that strikes middle-aged and older people. More than 16,000,000 Americans, including nearly everyone over age 75, have this form of arthritis, notes Robert J. Quinet, chief of the Rheumatology Section at Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans.

In osteoarthritis, cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in joints and normally provides a cushion between bones degenerates. With that protection gone, the bones rub against each other, causing pain. Joints in the fingers, neck, lower back, and legs are more prone to the condition. Women are affected more often than men.

Once someone gets osteoarthritis, it will not go away since there is no way to replace the cartilage in the joints. Treatment includes medications. such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, some of which are available without a prescription. When the cartilage completely is gone, joint replacement may be an option.

Surgery is expensive. and the artificial joint implanted to replace the worn-out one may itself need to be replaced after a decade.

Quinet suggest some things one can do before developing osteoarthritis can help prevent the disease or make it less severe:

* Exercise properly. …

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