Osteoarthritis, the most common joint disorder, is caused by muscular wear and tear that breaks down cartilage until the bones are rubbing together. This can result in pain, swelling and joint stiffness in afflicted individuals, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Joint stiffness and pain can limit mobility and increase the risk of falling in older adults. A personal emergency response system can be used to protect loved ones who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
Past the age of 55, more women than men are affected by osteoarthritis in the knees, and doctors and researchers at Mayo Clinic are preparing to embark on a study to determine possible reasons that the disorder affects the sexes differently. The researchers will examine different types of human tissue that are removed during total knee replacement surgery for osteoarthritis patients.
"Our study will be the first to explore if there are true biological differences which result in women having this increased disease burden," said Dr. Mary O'Connor, the lead researcher. "Knee osteoarthritis is a leading cause of disability in the U.S. and women have greater pain and reductions in function and quality of life from this condition than do men."