Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Replace or Not to Replace

I was surprised to learn how many knee and hip replacements are being done on people under the age of 65.  According to Prevention magazine, almost 40% of all hip replacements done in 2010 were done on people under age 65, and 42% of that year’s knee replacements were on folks aged 45 - 64.  But experts say the reasons for this aren’t all bad.  One major reason for early joint replacement is because this age group is more active than in previous generations, and people don’t want to stop doing what they love.  However, it’s also true that an increase in overweight and being out of shape at a younger age also are partly to blame.
To avoid surgery, engage in low-impact exercise, wear proper footwear, and keep your weight in check.  Each additional pound you carry increases the pressure on your hips and knees by 3 pounds, making those ten extra pounds feel like 30 to your joints!  Strengthening your leg muscles will also help support the knees and certain supplements can help.  SAMe has been shown to be as effective as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in reducing stiffness, pain and swelling while increasing range of motion and walking pace.  Also worth your consideration are glucosamine and chondroitin taken in combination.  While the evidence is not as strong, these supplements are thought to slow down the natural breakdown of joint cartilage.
If you must have surgery, take comfort in the fact that joint replacement surgery has improved over the years due to changes throughout the process.  The procedures are less painful and recovery is quicker than in days past.  Better still, the replacement joints are lasting longer, with over 80% lasting more than 20 years.
Please don’t let your apprehension about surgery slow you down or, worse yet, force you into a sedentary lifestyle.  As you’ve heard many times here, when it comes to wellness, exercise is the closest thing to a magic bullet we’ve got.
Source: Prevention December 2012

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