WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition that can affect any joint but occurs most often in the knees, hips, spine, hands, and feet. The joint cartilage and underlying bone in a joint begin to deteriorate, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. It is usually discovered when an individual notices a presence of joint pain, joint stiffness and difficulty walking, bending or moving.
HOW OSTEOARTHRITIS AFFECTS ALBERTANS.
Within the next 30 years, over 30 million Canadians will be affected by osteoarthritis and one will be newly diagnosed every 60 seconds.1
Over 4.4 million Canadians are currently living with osteoarthritis.1 Cases of OA will double from 1 in 8 in 2010, to 1 in 4 in 2040. Within the next 30 years, over 30 million Canadians will be affected by OA and one will be newly diagnosed every 60 seconds.1 This rapid increase in diagnoses will heighten the burden already experienced by the Canadian health care system and economy. In Alberta alone, osteoarthritis accounted for more than $2.7 billion in estimated economic losses in 2010.2 OA is linked to an increased risk of patients developing two chronic diseases or conditions (e.g. obesity and heart disease). However, together, we can work to reduce Albertans' risk of osteoarthritis.
This increase in cases of OA is due in part to changing population characteristics, earlier age of onset osteoarthritis, increased obesity, reduced physical activity, the lack of disease-modifying treatments for osteoarthritis, and a common ‘wait and replace’ approach to disease management.1,3
Estimates suggest that youth who sustain a significant knee injury have an increased risk of developing OA compared to uninjured youth.4
While OA is more common in older adults, post joint injury or post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) has been shown to develop in young to middle-aged adults 12-20 years post joint injury.5,6 This is particularly relevant to the knee as it is one of the most frequently injured joints during youth sporting activities.7 Estimates also suggest that youth who sustain a significant knee injury have an increased risk of developing OA compared to uninjured youth.4
Given that in 2015 there were 475,000 11-18-year-olds in Alberta, it is estimated that 16,000 Albertan youth sustained a sport-related knee injury that may lead to a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis by age 33.10
Physical activity is associated with important health benefits in school-aged children and adolescents.8 However, youths that participate in sports and recreation represent a segment of the population that have increased vulnerability for knee injury and subsequent OA.
WHAT FACTORS COULD LEAD TO OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is most common in people who are overweight or obese and those that have had a sports-related injury. There are many non-modifiable factors associated with Osteoarthritis:
- More common in people over 40 years of age
- More common in women
- Osteoarthitis has also been proven to have hereditary tendency