Causes of Osteoarthritis
Natasha Evans, Naturopath, Bacchus Marsh
23rd August 2016
I participated in a webinar on Osteoarthritis (OA), hosted by Kerry Bone, a leading Australian herbalist and associate professor. It was interesting as it outlined some new directions in the thinking when it comes to the cause of the disease.
Traditionally, wear and tear on the joints and subsequent invasion by inflammatory mediators and resultant inflammation has been the primary hypothesis. However, interestingly there are now links between OA, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. These findings suggest that there is a metabolic profile that may pre-determine the development and progression of the disease.
Cardiovascular exercise is beneficial for slowing the progression of osteoarthritis.
What is also interesting is that whilst OA has always been considered a disease affecting two joint surfaces that rub against one another such as in the knee or the hip, there are now findings that bone lesions and cysts deep inside the bone are correlated with cartilage loss, which precedes the disease. This last point leads to the question of why have the bone cysts and lesions formed deep in bone to start with, and are they a result of the above-mentioned metabolic profile.
“…by improving cardiovascular health and keeping good blood sugar control, the disease progression may be slowed, or may not develop in the first place”
Whilst treatment is always focused on an anti-inflammatory model, the new research findings suggest that by improving cardiovascular health and keeping good blood sugar control, the disease progression may be slowed, or may not develop in the first place.
Blood sugar control can also slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
This is good news for naturopaths, as when we focus on whole health we are by default affecting these parameters, along with a reduction in pain and stiffness from a more targeted approach.
Keep fit, and eat well, to improve your chances of preventing or mitigating the effects of osteoarthritis.