Recent data has shown a massive increase in osteoarthritis cases in recent decades. To stop yourself becoming one of these statistics, it could be time to get moving.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease that causes pain, disability, and loss of function. It is caused by “wear and tear” on joints, typically from repeated use or stress exposure.
A recent analysis including data from more than 7,000 researchers in 156 countries and territories found that arthritis cases have risen by more than 113 percent, from 247.5 in 1990 to 527.8 million in 2019.
Why the increase? Researchers point to a few reasons. They believe that the whopping increase in cases has to do with population growth, population age, and obesity.
Obesity is a significant risk factor and could be the driving force behind increased cases of osteoarthritis. For example, researchers noted that arthritis rose in lower body joints like hips and knees but decreased in the hands. They found the most significant burden was in the knees, while cases of hip arthritis were rising fastest.
These numbers suggest that sitting and excess body weight contribute mightily to joint pain in the lower body. Sitting is terrible for the hips, and weight gain puts added stress on both the knees and hips while on foot.
The researchers suggest that preventing obesity and managing weight gain are effective measures against osteoarthritis. Exercise can also help manage joint pain for people with the condition.
Of course, weight and inactivity are not the only contributing factors to osteoarthritis, but it is the most controllable. Other causes, like acute injury or repeated use and heavy loading of a joint, can also lead to the condition.
Treating injuries and finding ways to relieve stress on joints with ergonomic equipment may also reduce the risk.