1253 GMT January 20, 2019
In people older than 45, arthritis is the most common orthopedic disorder, said an Iranian orthopedist.
Speaking to Iran Daily, Dr. Gholamreza Shah-Hosseini, the managing director and head of the Board of Directors of Moheb Mehr Hospital, also urged the Iranian society, given the large number of citizens suffering from severe arthritis, to prepare for providing special services to such patients since the median age and life expectancy is steadily increasing in Iran.
Also a member of the academic board of Iran University of Medical Sciences, Shah-Hosseini listed the most common orthopedic diseases in the country and ways to reduce the severity of their symptoms or treat them.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
IRAN DAILY: Would you please list the most common orthopedic disorders?
GHOLAMREZA SHAH-HOSSEINI: Orthopedic disorders vary depending on a person’s age. In people older than 45, arthritis is the most common orthopedic disorder. It is impossible to find an individual above 45 years of age who does not display the symptoms of this disease, which is quite normal.
In Iran, at younger ages, rickets or vitamin D deficiency — a condition that results in weak or soft bones in children — is the most common orthopedic disorder which, per se, leads to numerous problems. Among the other less common orthopedic diseases occurring in younger ages are disorders caused by the misplacement of the fetus within the uterus such as clubfoot — the inward and downward rotation of both feet, those of the vertebral column, hip dislocation and rotational deformities of the lower limbs. The good news is that almost 90 percent of these disorders are treatable. The dislocation of the limbs is more common in female infants.
Between the ages of 25 and 40, patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner's knee, is the most prevalent orthopedic disease. This disorder, however, is preventable. Diseases pertaining to the vertebral column, which are mostly acquired disorders, are very common in Iran.
What measures can be taken to empower patients disabled due to contracting arthritis in the Iranian society given their large number?
With the increase in the median age and life expectancy, our society is required to prepare itself for providing services to patients suffering from severe arthritis. For instance, our buses, as is the case in many other countries, are required to be equipped with height adjustable air suspensions to be able to adjust their height and make it easier for passengers to get on or off. In addition, certain measures are required to make it possible for handicapped people to enter or exit buses or metro wagons on wheelchair.
Building wheelchair ramps next to stairs in urban thoroughfares could be another measure to facilitate handicapped people’s movement across the city.
How can the severe symptoms of arthritis, such as disability, be prevented?
To prevent disability in people suffering from arthritis, prevention is more important than cure. Everybody will eventually suffer from the symptoms of arthritis. However, some people do not contract severe arthritis even in older ages thanks to their lifestyle.
Among the measures which can reduce the severity of the symptoms of arthritis in older ages are conducting sport activities, following a suitable diet, taking a number of safety measures, getting enough sleep and minimizing the degeneration of the body. Domestic media are also required to constantly raise public awareness of such disorders and ways to prevent them. Arthritis can disable people in older ages. Knee replacement — also known as knee arthroplasty — is among the remedies that can prevent arthritis from disabling those suffering from it. Knee is among the most important joints in human body.
Consuming sufficient dairy products will also help reduce the risk of contracting acute arthritis in older ages. A bone is made of calcium, phosphorus and alkaline phosphatase. Milk is the richest source containing all these minerals and elements.
Are the prevalence and severity of arthritis greater in women?
Yes. Moreover, due to their hormonal issues and weaker muscles, women mostly develop arthritis sooner in life compared to men. The number of the patients disabled by the disease is also higher in women compared to men. Fortunately, it is possible for women in our society to conduct sport activities. This is while, in some societies, women are almost invisible and have limited freedom and thus, suffer from severe arthritis, particularly, after they pass the age of 50.
What are the main causes of rickets?
Although malnutrition, mostly due to poverty, is the main cause of rickets or vitamin D deficiency, a failure to be adequately exposed to sunlight can also be a main reason for people, particularly women, to develop rickets. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to the degeneration of joints. Development of hormonal disorders during menopause also accelerates the degeneration of joints in women.