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Good Diet, Exercise Can Potentially Prevent Osteoarthritis

May 15, 2017 11:11 AM EDT

A new expert review conducted by researchers from the University of Surrey revealed that good diet and regular exercise could potentially decrease the risk of osteoarthritis.

The review, published in the journal Nature Review Rheumatology, showed that poor diet and sedentary lifestyle could cause metabolic changes. These changes in the body's metabolism could lead to genetic reprogramming of cells in the body and joints.

"For too long osteoarthritis has been known as the 'wear and tear disease' and it has been assumed that it is part and parcel of getting older," said Ali Mobasheri, Professor of Musculoskeletal Physiology at the University of Surrey and lead author of the review, in a press release. "However, this is not the case and what we have learnt is that we can control and prevent the onset of this painful condition."

Changes in the cells' metabolism have negative impact to the cell's ability to produce energy. Due to this, metabolic changes force the cells to generate alternate sources of energy in order to maintain its function. The additional stress experienced by the cells could lead to overproduction of glucose, which turns to lactic acid when not used as energy. It's hard for the body to flush out lactic acid. Abnormal levels of lactic acid in the body could lead to inflammation of the joint's cartilage, resulting to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that frequently occurs in the hands, hips and knees. Usually called "wear and tear" arthritis, osteoarthritis develops slowly and gets worse overtime. Osteoarthritis is commonly caused by damage or breakdown of joint cartilages between bones. People with osteoarthritis may experience pain or aching, stiffness, decreased range of motion and swelling.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that over 30 million adults live with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis could be diagnosed through a physical exam, review of symptoms, X-rays and lab tests. People who are overweight or obese, as well as older adults with sedentary lifestyle, are at increased risk of osteoarthritis.

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