June 20, 2024

Osteoarthritis or OA is the most common form of inflammation of the joints. It is the most common cause of lower extremity disability in older adults. Hip and knee OA has accounted for 1.12 percent of all years lived with disability or YLD, an overall measure of disease burden.
In Global Burden of Disease studies, osteoarthritis consistently ranked as a leading contributor to global YLD.
Several risk factors have been linked to OA: age, gender, genes, joint injury, anatomic factors, and lifestyle factors like obesity and occupation. Other possible factors are muscle weakness or strength, smoking, bone density, and physical activity/inactivity.
Prevalence increases with age – the incidence of hand, hip, knee OA increases, especially after the age 50. Females have a higher prevalence and severity than males. Joint injury leads to what is called post-traumatic OA.
Most persons who have osteoarthritis have joint pains and limitation in movement. The disease presentation may, however, vary in terms of age of onset, sequence of joint involvement, and progression. Some persons may not have symptoms at all and the finding is seen only during a routine medical checkup or an incidental finding in an X-ray examination.
In others, the disease may be severe and progressive and eventually lead to marked disability and a chronic (prolonged, long-lasting) disease. “Joint failure” may ensue.
The joints that are most commonly affected are the hands, hips, knees, feet, and spine. OA is the most common cause of lower extremity disability in older adults.
OA-related pain affects a person’s quality of life, mood, sleep, and frequently affects one’s involvement in recreational and occupational activities.
OA-related conditions can cause depression, sleeping disturbances, and social problems.
Treatment starts with a medical consult, not self-medication with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Your doctor will establish the diagnosis of osteoarthritis and make sure it is not rheumatoid arthritis or other causes of joint pains.
Your doctor can then start the correct treatment. Medical care is continuous, not a one-time treatment. Treatment is individualized-tailored or adjusted to a patient’s needs, goals, and values – it is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
A person affected by OA should participate by discussing her/his symptoms, expectations from the treatment, and other medical concerns.
The goals of treatment are relief of pain, improve the quality of life through improved function, and to modify the process of the joint disease. Factors that are modifiable – like smoking, physical activity, overweight and obesity – are addressed.
Non-pharmacological therapy (no drugs involved) is the mainstay of management and is tried first, followed by or along with medications for pain relief.
These therapies are weight management, exercises, braces, foot orthose where applicable, patient education, and use of assistive devices when needed.

Covid-19 vaccination in children
In randomized trials involving more than 2000 children aged five to 11 years, it was shown that the Pfizer vaccine or BNT162B2 had 91 percent efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19 in the said age group.
Immunogenecity was also shown to be similar to that in adolescents and adults. In the trials, no case of vaccine-related myocarditis or pericarditis (heart inflammation) was noted.
The results seen in the trials were the bases for the United States Food and Drug Administration’s decision in October 2021 to authorize the use of the mRNA vaccine for children aged five to 11 years old. There are ongoing clinical trials on the vaccination of children younger than five years old.

Vaccination against Covid-19 provides protection not only for ourselves but also for others and our loved ones. The flu pandemic occurred in 1920 and through research and vaccination the pandemic eventually passed. We now have the yearly flu vaccines to prevent another flu pandemic. The Covid-19 is a new disease caused by another virus. May we continue to help control Covid-19 through our selfless compliance. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

The Covid-19 renal response team would like to thank the following for their kindness and generosity: Gloria Antoinette M. Hamada and Baguio Midland Courier, Arch. Geej Masadao and group, Manny Barroga and family, JSD Sports Parts Trading and Services, Rebecca N. Domogan, Baguio Patriotic School, and Jojo Dipasupil and family.

Medical questions and suggestions may be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected]