Bones & Joints
Bones and joints become vulnerable to wear and tear as we age. Treatments range from pain relievers and physical therapy to joint replacement.
More than 52 million adults, many of them over 65, live with arthritis. About half of them are limited in their activities. Arthritis is a degenerative condition in which the joints—the cushioning surfaces between bones—wear away. Typical arthritis symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion.
Arthritis comes in many forms, including degenerative osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease), and psoriatic arthritis. In psoriatic arthritis, not only do the joints swell up, but red, scaly patches called plaques also form on the skin. Gout is another type of arthritis that’s caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. The excess uric acid forms into crystals that congregate in the joints—most often in the big toe—causing pain and swelling. A number of medications are available to treat arthritis pain and inflammation.
With time, bones become weaker, more brittle, and could fracture. The early stage of bone loss is called osteopenia, and it affects about half of Americans over age 50. Doctors can determine the amount of bone loss with a bone mineral density (BMD) test. Results are expressed as a T-score, which is based on a comparison with the bones of a healthy 30-year old. People with normal bone density have a T-score that is within 1 standard deviation (SD) of a 30-year old’s score. A score 1 to 2.5 SD below a young adult’s (-1 to -2.5 SD) is considered low bone mass, or osteopenia. Osteoporosis is diagnosed in anyone with a score of -2.5 SD or lower. People with osteoporosis need to take medicines such as bisphosphonates to strengthen their bones and prevent fractures.
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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a potentially debilitating form of arthritis that affects more than 1.3 million Americans and 1 percent of the population worldwide. The condition is considered an autoimmune disease because instead of protecting the body by making it immune to outside forces, it attacks healthy tissue for unknown … Read More
Calcium is an essential component of a person’s body chemistry. Almost all of it is in our bones and teeth, providing both with strength. The rest is present throughout tissues, organs, and cells. Almost every cell in our body uses calcium in some way. But collections of these tiny crystals—calcium … Read More
You already know that eating lots of refined sugar can cause weight gain. But, did you know that sugar consumption also impacts the health of your bones? The answer to the question, “Why is Sugar Bad for You?” may surprise you! … Read More
Despite its name, pseudogout is real. It’s not gout, but there’s good reason it’s called “false gout.” Like gout, pseudogout is inflammatory arthritis caused by an excess of crystals in the joint fluid. And, like gout, it hurts, leaving your joint swollen and red. While gout is often triggered by … Read More
Joint inflammation is easily recognizable—it’s a condition that affects 80 percent of the world’s population. You’ll know inflammation by its symptoms: pain, warmth, redness, swelling, and perhaps loss of joint function. The symptoms are uncomfortable but manageable with rest, ice, compression, elevation—the classic “RICE” treatment—and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like … Read More
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveal that approximately 52.5 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and gout. Arthritic diseases may be mild in some people but can be debilitating in others. Symptoms characterized by joint pain, swelling, and stiffness … Read More
The heel of the foot is sometimes called the “hindfoot,” and people understandably think of it first as a bone, also called the calcaneus. But there are actually many different types of tissue that make up the heel. Disorders of any of these tissues and the structures they form can … Read More
Our ankles are complex structures composed of four bones, the tibia and fibula (bones of the lower leg), the calcaneus (heel bone), and the talus (a small bone between the tibia, fibula and calcaneus), along with multiple tendons and ligaments.
Cushioning between the bones in the ankle is provided by … Read More
The likelihood of experiencing a bone fracture or break is alarmingly high. American Bone Health says that half of all women and 25 percent of men over the age of 50 will have a fracture in their lifetime. The likelihood of breaking a bone continues to increase with age.
What … Read More