December 2016

Arthritis and Old Age

Is arthritis something that only happens in old age, and what has given us this idea if it is not true? This article looks at the modern causes versus the traditional causes of arthritis.


As a society we have strong associations between old age and decay, and the same goes for many cultures worldwide. It is not uncommon to have the stereotype in one’s mind of the older individual who is suffering from joint disorders, osteoarthritis, tendonitis or a general lack of mobility. What gives us this image is that we also have before us examples of youth that tend to state the opposite; movement, vitality and energy. The assumptions we make between poor health and old age are everywhere, but are they fair? Is it not possible that some conditions we associate with old age can proliferate in other periods of our lives? In this article I examine just how reliable our links between old age and arthritis are, and look at how it is possible that our assumptions are wrong in many cases.



I have singled out arthritis because it is a common ailment and it is one that people seek treatment for constantly. Arthritis and Osteoarthritis are to do with the decay of the tissue and muscles that activate the joints we move daily. Looking to the older generation and the cases of arthritis we see there it is easy to assume that their situations are the result of years of movement and activity, finally ceasing to function in the latter years of life. Whilst it is true that the body slows down and regeneration reaches a crawl at a certain age, the idea that arthritis is exclusive to ageing is false. Osteoarthritis may be more common in older generations because of its reputation as the ‘wearing out’ of cartilage, however even this form can affect younger patients. Indeed, varieties such as Rheumatoid Arthritis are actually even more common amongst younger people with so called healthy lifestyles. The reason is simply due to the difference between generations and the traditions of work that change between the ages. Younger generations are exposed to media forms and workplaces that were never before imagined by those a generation ago, specifically the computer desk.


Because of work stations like the computer desk more and more people below the age of 40 are experiencing severe issues with their joints, specifically in their hands, fingers, wrists and shoulders. The threat extends to the spine as lower back issues also come into play here. The affliction is so common that we now have the name Juvenile Arthritis, and cases of such complications in the United States are largely diagnosed in people beginning at age 30. People of more recent generations are seeking new cures to their joint issues such as stem cell treatment, a new kind of surgery for the new generation of people who are suffering a culture-specific disease. Medical tourism has opened up many clinics that practice stem cell treatment and are showing good results in the reversal of the damage done through overuse of joints. Using SVF cells to regenerate the damaged tissue doctors have been able to attract a great many to the new practices of stem cell surgery that is currently being used to treat many forms of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other joint complications.



The link between old age and arthritis will surely evaporate as new studies and new societal practises reveal that diseases are never as age specific as they seem.