May is Arthritis Awareness Month

By Peter Bales, MD, MHSA

One of the problems our healthcare system is facing in the US is that even though lifespan has increased, people are aging with many more medical problems which are chronic and degenerative. Dr. Peter BalesOsteoarthritis is one of these conditions that is no longer known as an “old person’s disease.”

Osteoarthritis affects more than 20 million Americans and is the most common degenerative disorder in the US. It is expected that osteoarthritis cases will increase by 40% by the year 2030. By the year 2025, there will be a 673% increase in number of total joint replacement surgeries performed for osteoarthritis compared to 2008. Osteoarthritis causes more disability than any other degenerative disease and is occurring in epidemic proportions in our country at younger ages. Research shows that the same poor nutrition responsible for causing increased inflammation in our bodies, along with epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, is also fueling the development of osteoarthritis. The real culprits fueling osteoarthritis are obesity, chronically elevated blood sugar levels, hormonal imbalances brought on by aging and poor nutrition, and excess unhealthy fats in our bodies. The standard American diet (SAD) is pro-inflammatory. It is estimated that up to 40% of American adults are obese.

Some useful supplements to combat osteoarthritis include Tumeric for inflammation, Glucosamine and MSM, SAMe, and having adequate vitamin D levels in our bodies. Excess sugar in the diet also acts to break down cartilage in our joints, which leads to osteoarthritis. Dietary changes of eliminating excess sugar and refined carbohydrates are helpful in keeping our joints healthy. 

More detailed information on how to combat osteoarthritis while in its early stages can be found in my book, Osteoarthritis: Preventing and Healing without Drugswhich is available on Amazon. The dietary strategies discussed in the book are preventative measures only for early stages of osteoarthritis. Surgical treatment with joint replacement currently remains the only viable option for treatment of advanced osteoarthritis. 

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