In the current issue of Arthritis Today, the article Putting A Stop To OA by Dorothy Foltz-Gray, contributing editor to Arthritis Today, presents some of the new ways of thinking about joints that may help in the fight against osteoarthritis.
There have been several exciting research advances:
- Stem Cell Research - using stem cells to create micro-organs that will allow investigators to examine the bone and cartilage and figure out why it falls apart and how best to screen potential drugs.
- Potential drug to slow progression of OA - "This study is very preliminary and needs to be replicated," says Joanne M. Jordan, MD MPH, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. Although promising, the drug would need further study to show not only effectiveness against OA progression, but safe to take.
- New Imaging Technology - New MRI technology will allow enable researchers to detect OA earlier and determine if potential new drugs have any effect on the progression of the disease.
What can you do now? You can help lesson OA progression by making some relatively small changes.
- Lose Weight - For years, studies have linked obesity to OA progression. â€œWe also know that obesity is associated with OA progression to new sites,â€ says Dr. Jordan.
- Exercise Smart - "We recommend low-Impact exercise like walking, using an elliptical machine, swimming or biking,â" says Dr. Jordan. She suggests working with a physical therapist who can provide the correct exercise program to provide the best results.
- Manage Your Diabetes - A 2012 study, following 927 people for 20 years, found that type 2 diabetes is a predictor of severe OA, regardless of age and weight. To prevent type 2 diabetes, controlling weight and exercising are essential. If you already have type 2 diabetes you should eat healthy and take medications to control your blood sugar to prevent OA from progressing.
- Improve Your Stride - "We know that malalignment of the knee joins is associated with OA progression," says Dr. Jordan. "So if you have hip or knee osteorarthritis, get evaluated by a physical therapist to make sure that you donâ€™t have legs that are different lengths." There are simple devices that can improve the way you walk.
- Skip Soda - Research has shown that their may be a correlation between soda consumption and progression of OA. Researchers speculate that either excess weight gained from drinking soda or some soda ingredient may cause the OA to progress. For now, stick with water.