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07/28/2009 02:12 PM

Arthritis is afflicting a younger age group

Posts: 2447
Senior Member

Arthritis affects almost 80 percent of Americans. And those affected are getting younger, according to Dr. Barry Waldman of OrthoMaryland and director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

"We don't really know why, but we're seeing an epidemic of patients with wearing-out of joints in their 40s and even late 30s," he says.

Q. What is arthritis?

The word means inflammation of the joint. This inflammation causes the cartilage in the joint to wear out. As it wears out, it causes four problems: pain, redness, swelling and deformity.

Q. Are all those symptoms usually present?

No, they don't have to be. And there are all kinds of arthritis. The one we're most familiar with is osteoarthritis, the premature wearing out of the joints. There are other kinds caused by a number of diseases called inflammatory arthritis.

Q. Who is most susceptible to osteoarthritis?

Past trauma and family history can play a role. But the vast majority of people just get it, and we don't know why.

Q. How is it diagnosed?

Generally by X-ray.

Q. What are the most common symptoms people experience?

Pain and swelling. The pain tends to be worse when they are sedentary. When they're active, the joint hurts less.

Q. Why?

We don't know, but cartilage tends to be healthier when it's moving.

Q. When should someone seek treatment?

When the symptoms are interfering with things they want to do, whether it is walking or exercising.

Q. Are there other conditions people could have that would give the same symptoms?

It could be an injury, but generally there are not a lot of disorders you can confuse with arthritis.

Q. What are the treatment options for those with osteoarthritis?

We always try things that aren't surgery first. The best early treatment is exercise. Getting the muscles stronger around the joint will help. The next thing we try is acetaminophen, otherwise known as Tylenol.

Then we move on to anti-inflammatory medicines like Motrin or Alleve. If that doesn't work, there are medicines we can inject into the knee or shoulders. We can try anti-inflammatories like cortisone. We have one injectable medicine made of cartilage that can act as a cushioning agent.

Q. Do over-the-counter remedies such as glucosamine help?

There was recently a large study that [the National Institutes of Health] did that found that glucosamine and chondroitin didn't help improve arthritis; it was very ineffective. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons now recommends against taking it. 51368982.html?c=y&page=2

How old were you when you were first diagnosed?


07/28/2009 03:12 PM
Posts: 10865
VIP Member

I was in my early 30's when I was dxed with OA. Within a year it moved from mid to severe.

I had cortisone injections, 3 antroscopies, Synvestic (?) injections twice around on both knees. Finally having knee replaced when I was 48. Now, I am waiting for other one to be replaced. I am 52.

I was dxed with OA in my back several years ago.

I was dxed with Raynaud's several years ago.

I was dxed with RA 2 years ago. Which, recently, has been changed to Psuedo Gout.

These diseases affect my feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders (not too bad), jaws, fingers, hands, and wrists.

Although, all of these areas hurt badly, I have to say it is my hands and jaws that bother me the most.

I assume it is because I use my hands (or used to) so much and because I love to laugh which can become impossible when jaws hurt.

My heart goes out to all that have any form of arthritis but especially to the youngsters and mothers with children at home.


07/28/2009 04:07 PM
Posts: 2447
Senior Member

I believe I had arthritis before this but the official diagnosis was in 1997 when I was 56. It is now in my knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, ankles, fingers, wrists, and back. As far as I know, it is not in my jaws. My left index finger and middle finger are the most painful of my fingers at this time. I wake up with them hurting.

My daughter has TMJ which is a form of arthritis and has had several operations for it. Have you had any surgery?

07/28/2009 04:43 PM
Posts: 1008
Senior Member

I am 30 and just got diagnosed with PsA 3 weeks ago, but I've been having problems for the past couple of years before this.

I wonder if it has something to do with having a total hysterectomy and being in surgical menopause.

07/28/2009 05:12 PM
Posts: 11022
VIP Member

I'm 28 and was dxed with OA last year(at 27).

07/29/2009 05:09 AM
Posts: 2447
Senior Member

I had a hysterectomy and surgical menopause when I was 33. I don't remember having arthritis until I was older.

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