In Spain, more than seven million people suffer from osteoarthritis, a rheumatic disease that, according to experts estimate, will double its incidence in the coming years due, among other causes, to the progressive aging of the population.

Dr. Alejandro Tejedor, in charge of coordinating the Rheumatology Group of the semFYC (Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine), points out that this condition is the cause of one in seven consultations in Primary Care and that it significantly affects the quality of life of patients, leading to cause, in the most severe cases, temporary or permanent disability.

The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is based on clinical observation, and it uses imaging tests such as x-rays, MRIs or ultrasounds to confirm the lesion, which can take years to develop without symptoms, so research is currently being done to find markers biological factors that facilitate the early diagnosis of the disease.

The treatment of osteoarthritis is focused on alleviating the discomfort, since there is still no cure, but an appropriate therapy allows those affected to continue with their daily activities practically without suffering limitations

The treatment of this pathology is symptomatic, focused on alleviating the discomfort it causes, since there is still no cure, but an appropriate therapy allows those affected to continue with their daily activities practically without suffering limitations. In fact, specialists believe that about half of patients will need medications to improve symptoms.

There are several drugs available to treat osteoarthritis, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (which can be taken in pills or applied locally in cream) and analgesics, to reduce pain, opioids used when the discomfort is very intense, and a type of natural substances, the chondroprotectors, which exert a beneficial action on the cartilage, slowing down the degenerative progression in the affected joints and decreasing the pain.

Another option, indicated in those people suffering from severe osteoarthritis and to whom pharmacological treatments have not served to control pain, consists of a surgical intervention, repair or replacement surgery v There is also a surgical alternative for those who suffer from severe osteoarthritis and to which pharmacological treatments have not served to control pain or present an important limitation, which hinders or prevents them from carrying out daily activities or interferes with their rest.

Hip Joint Pain – Here’s why you may not need replacement (November 2019).