All About Arthritis And Joint Replacement Surgery For Women
By nature, women are more predisposed to conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis compared to men. Before the age of fifty five, men are at a higher risk of osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis – a point degeneration condition. However, after the age of fifty five, the number of osteoarthritic women far surpasses men.
Menopause amongst women causes depletion of a hormone called oestrogen, this hormone is believed to provide protection to the cartilage that rests between the knee joint. Sudden depletion in this hormone post menopause, exposes women to a higher osteoarthritis risk.
The Gender Difference
Women’s anatomy is naturally different from men Women’s knee joints are not aligned as straight as their male counterparts due to wider hips compared to knees. Such an alignment of women’s bodies, makes them prone to knee injuries which at a later stage. can cause osteoarthritis. An international study has found that women soccer players suffer three to four times more knee injuries compared to men soccer players. Also, certain lifestyle hazards amongst women such as fascination for high heels, heavy handbags and poor body mechanics, damage cartilage and predispose them to a higher risk of osteoarthritis.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Advancement in medical technology and awareness about the effectiveness of surgical treatment is encouraging more women and men to opt for knee replacement surgery There is also an increasing trend of patients opting for surgery at an early age. The average age for knee replacement surgery from 65-75 years has reduced to 45-55 within a decade.
Joint replacement surgery often used to be the last resort when everything else failed. Moreover, it used to be about doing the things of daily routine and restoring the basic functionality and being able to walk. Today, joint replacement surgeries have progressed way beyond and it is now more about being able to do things you want to do. That’s how the patients thought process is changing.
Patients are increasingly aware of the improvement in the quality of lite that joint replacement surgery brings. Hence, it is no longer the last resort for many. Nowadays. patients prefer to undergo surgery at an early disease stage and get back to their lives quickly.
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Is A ‘Woman’s Knee’ Better?
An increase in joint replacement surgery amongst women has sparked a whole new category of gender specific joint replacement. Several companies offer knees that specifically support a women’s anatomy.
There isn’t any literature or enough data to prove that a woman’s knee is markedly better than the rest, but a spike in availability of such devices suggests that more and more women are opting for joint replacement surgeries for a better quality of life. There are different kinds of devices available but patient should opt for the one that lits their bone Quality of the implant, implant’s survivorship data, stability and flexion of knee that the implant offers are critical parameters that must be considered while choosing an implant.
It is also important to be aware that joint replacement surgery is not for every arthritic patient. Usually patients recommended for knee replacement surgery are those who experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain is severe enough to restrict day-to-day activities.
- Pain cannot be relieved by conservative methods of treatment .
- There is significant joint stillness and loss of mobility.
- X-rays show advanced arthritis or other degenerative problems.
Remember, the choice of a surgeon is critical for the success of the surgery. An experienced and specialized surgeon who specializes in knee or hip replacement surgery can give deliver a better outcome than a general orthopaedic surgeon.
Who Can Benefit From Knee Replacement Surgery?
- Patients who experience pain severe enough to restrict not only work and recreation, but also the routine activities of daily living like walking, climbing stairs etc.
- Pain that is not relieved by more conservative methods of treatment, such as reduced activity, medication or physical therapy.
- Patients who experience significant joint stiffness and loss of mobility.
- Patients whose arthritis has caused deformity of the joint.
- Patients whose x-ray show advanced arthritis or other degenerative problems.
Preventive Measures Against Arthritis
- Maintain Healthy Body Weigh : One kilo extra weight puts four times pressure on the knees.
- Quit High Heels (Women) : The human foot is not designed to be on its toes all day long. High heels can cause trouble. While it’s okay to wear high heels occasionally. overuse can cause difficulty.
- Stay Active : Even it you feel tine right now, physical activity like walking is key to keeping joints pain-free. It also helps strengthen muscles and bones and improves joint flexibility too.
- Avoid High Impact Exercises : Long distance running, soccer etc. can put stress on the joints and wear down cartilage faster than normal.
- Stay Hydrated : The cartilage in our joints is made up mostly of water, which is what makes it such a great cushion for the joints. When water gets sucked out of the cartilage, its more easily damaged by wear and tear. So, drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
- Vitamin D : Be sure to keep it under check.