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Rheumatology Study Shows African Americans Suffer More Knee Osteoarthritis

Posted by floriza in Rheumatology

A study published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism, indicates that African Americans are more likely to experience osteoarthritis in the knees than Caucasians. The article was titled, “Differences in Multi-Joint Radiographic Osteoarthritis Phenotypes Among African Americans and Caucasians: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project.”

The study also determined that African Americans have a 77 percent greater chance of suffering osteoarthritis of the knees and the spine simultaneously. Conversely, Caucasians were found to be more likely to suffer osteoarthritis in the hands and fingers than African Americans.

The study was conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-UNC Rheumatology/Thurston Arthritis Research Center as part of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. Data from African American and Caucasian patients aged 45 and older were evaluated, although the average age was 65. The majority of the patients were obese. One-third of the patients were African American, and one-third of the patients were men. The researchers found no differences in occurrences of osteoarthritis based on gender.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and is the most common type of arthritis. It can affect any joint in the body, and it affects most people to some degree as they age. The disease, which is sometimes called “wear and tear arthritis,” is a result of deterioration of the cartilage within the joints, causing pain, swelling, and restrictions in movement. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), 27 million adults suffer from osteoarthritis, and because people are living longer, that number is rising.

While it is unknown why this is the case, women are more likely to have osteoarthritis. Obesity and lack of exercise also increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

X-rays and MRIs can confirm an osteoarthritis diagnosis from a rheumatologist, but there is no cure for the disease. It can be managed to some degree through exercise and pain medications.

What is Rheumatology?

Rheumatology is the medical specialty that diagnoses and treats joint conditions, including all types of arthritis. Among the diseases that rheumatologists treat are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, lupus, vasculitis, tendonitis, osteoporosis, scleroderma, Lyme disease, and gout.

Rheumatology in New Jersey and other areas of the U.S. can diagnose osteoarthritis and other rheumatological disorders, offering the latest treatments for either curing or managing the conditions. The goal is always to reduce pain and improve functioning as much as possible, as well as to attempt to slow the progression of rheumatological diseases that worsen over time.


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