Study Reveals That Osteoarthritis Is More Common Today Than It Was in Ancient Times

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As more and more patients of osteoarthritis come in to seek treatment for pain relief, researchers have begun to notice a trend of sorts. Better medicines are allowing people to live longer lives, and with that age-related ailments have been statistically on the rise. This has driven the common belief that wear and tear resulting from stress on the knee joint due to increased weight, as well as the natural degradation of one’s body as it ages were the major reasons for the onset of arthritis in the knee. But a recent study has found that after adjusting for age and body mass, osteoarthritis is twice as more common today than it was 60 years ago.


This does come as a fair shock to most people. After all, when we have access to more effective medicines and treatment for most diseases today than we did even a decade earlier, degenerative joint disease should logically be on the decline. The truth, however, is far from that. Daniel E. Lieberman and Ian J. Wallace, co-authors of the study, found that its history stretches farther than the just the mid-20th Century.


Part of the crucial data had been collected through intense study of human skeletons housed in medical institutes and museums all across America, some even as old as 6000 years. The researchers worked with the presumption that the oldest of these skeletons would provide evidence of a higher prevalence of osteoarthritis, owing to the rigorous lifestyle involved in most prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies. But the results proved the opposite.


Correcting for age and body mass, the data posited that osteoarthritis was less common in people from these ancient times. From the 1950’s onwards, human beings have developed a greater proclivity to be afflicted by degenerative joint disease. The “why” behind it all however is something the study unfortunately hasn’t located. But Lieberman offers his own guess: Americans began living more comfortably after the 50s, and therefore becoming significantly less physically active. Today, lack of exercise is nearly a chronic condition for the average American, and this may be affecting how our joints develop as we age. If cartilage doesn’t properly form when we’re younger, then we’re all the more likely to suffer from arthritis as we grow older.


But exercise isn’t the only guess - more and more Americans are shifting toward high-calorie, , our muscles and bones aren’t receiving the necessary minerals that will keep us healthy in the long run. By being careless about what we eat, we’re setting ourselves up for a number of diseases and disabilities, including osteoarthritis.


An exact cause however is yet still being sought out. This recent study however helps to point researchers and scientists in a new direction toward finding out what causes degenerative joint disease and how it can be remedied. In the meanwhile, it's best to seek out treatment for effective and long-lasting pain relief. At the US Knee Center, our team of specialists work tirelessly to ensure that you can walk ahead in life once again, absolutely pain free. Contact us today for a free consultation to book an appointment.