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Osteoarthritic women delay surgery: Arthritis Foundation

Posted on May 09 2014 | IBNS

Mumbai, May 8 : As India gears to celebrate Mother's day on Sunday, Arthritis Foundation of India (AFI) and Smith and Nephew have joined hands to generate awareness about osteoarthritis and associated pain.

Women over the age of 40 are most affected by osteoarthritis and this is corroborated by the fact that women form 60 percent of the patients that undergo total knee replacement. However, it has been observed that women delay surgery due to various factors which leaves them with agony and incapacitation.

This Mother's day Arthritis Foundation of India appealed against the general lack of awareness and negligence towards the healthcare of patients with osteoarthritis.

Many doctors have observed that women wait longer to pursue knee-replacement surgery than men do, postponing it until they can no longer stand the pain. They said the excuses range from "surgery will leave me immobile" to "I don't have the time and support system" etc.

"Osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common cause of disability. And It is a disease of age that affects more women than men on a 60-40 basis," Dr. Sushil Sharma, Chairman, Arthritis Foundation of India (AFI) said.

"General Physicians sometimes have advised patients to wait as long as they can before pursuing knee replacements, with the thinking that it is an once-in-a-lifetime surgery that should last an average of 15 to 20 years. However, delaying surgery beyond a point can limit the quality of life of patients because how they function before surgery have bearing on their performance afterwards," he said.

Dr. Niraj Vora of S L Raheja Hospital Mumbai says "10 to 15 ago, knee replacement was a last resort operation where patients were told that they needed to replace their knee or use a cane or a wheelchair.

However, today the situation is different with the age of women affected by Osteoarthritis coming down it is now looked as an option to maintain an active lifestyle.

"Now, patients are coming to see us saying, 'I can't do the things I want to do. I can't play with my grand-children or take the stairs anymore.' We're seeing more and more patients in their 50s and even some in their late 40s who just want to get it done and enjoy their lives." Dr. Sushil Sharma adding "there is a need for a replacement joints having tested to last longer mainly for younger patients of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Today with the advancement in technology there are knees made of newer material like oxidized zirconium that last longer with the replacement lasting for up to 30 Years"

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