By: Beth Walsh for Knee1
A current osteoporosis treatment might have potential for treating osteoarthritis. Tests on female rats are indicating that the hormone calcitonin shows promise for treating the condition in older, postmenopausal women.
|Primary osteoarthritis is mostly related to aging. As we age, water content of the cartilage increases and the protein makeup of cartilage degenerates. Repetitive use of the joints over the years irritates and inflames the cartilage, causing joint pain and swelling.|
In advanced cases, there is a total loss of the cartilage cushion between the bones of the joints. Loss of cartilage cushion causes friction between the bones, leading to pain and limited joint mobility. Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis but osteoarthritis is the most common. It affects more than 20 million people in the United States, and the rate of incidence increases with age.
There are several drugs to relieve osteoarthritis pain – but nothing exists that can stop the wear and tear of arthritis on bone, joints and cartilage. Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 10 percent of Americans, and 80 percent of those over the age of 55. Women are especially vulnerable. Hips and knees are susceptible, which can make exercise painful. That often leads to weight gain, which puts more pressure on the joints and further exacerbates the arthritis.
In a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, researchers removed the ovaries of female rats, making their skeletons similar to those of postmenopausal women. Some of the rats received calcitonin or estrogen, some weren’t treated with anything, and another group had their ovaries remain intact. The researchers found that calcitonin worked better than estrogen at preventing joint deterioration.
Results indicate that estrogen deficiency after menopause plays an important role in the development of osteoarthritis. Studies on humans are underway and are expected to be completed in about three years.