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Darth Vader's Battle With Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, over 21 million people have osteoarthritis with women more commonly afflicted than men. But arthritis spares no one. It often starts in middle age and is most common in older people. But children and young adults can also get it.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is the process of wearing of bone against bone that causes debilitating pain severe enough to restrict activities involving the affected joint.
Medical experts donít know the exact cause of osteoarthritis. What they know is that a personís immune system attacks his or her own body tissues. Research shows that genes, environment, and hormones among others are factors that cause osteoarthritis.
A perfect example of someone who suffered arthritis at a very young age was David Prowse. He was the original and ultimate screen villain Darth Vader of the Star Wars trilogy. For reel, Darth Vader brought terror throughout the universe. For real, Prowse is battling another villain - osteoarthritis. The 65-year-old actor has been dueling with the progressive joint disease since age 13.
"I was misdiagnosed actually," recalls the former British weightlifting champion. "My knee swelled up rather badly after doing some sprinting. The doctors told me I had tuberculosis of the knee."
Prowse spent the next 18 months "imprisoned" in a hospital and immobilized in leg splints and braces. But after his tuberculosis tests repeatedly came back negative, doctors finally realized Prowse had "juvenile arthritis" and immediately prescribed exercise.
Prowse's early onset of osteoarthritis isn't common. But the disease is. Osteoarthritis is more likely to affect your hips or knees, and also the end joints on your fingers, but it can affect any joint. Treatments such as injections to the joint can help, but if the joint is worn, the question of surgery may be raised.
There are operations to reduce the wear and tear of the joint but the major procedure used these days is a joint replacement. Though other joints can be replaced, hip replacement has been done for a long time and in recent years knee replacements have also become widely used. Your family doctor and your specialist will discuss the pros and cons of these procedures.
It is wise not to embark on joint replacement too soon as we are living longer these days and the replacement is likely to wear out or go wrong after a number of years. Subsequent options for further surgery are limited.
There are a number of complementary medical approaches to osteoarthritis. You can always try the most complete joint health supplement available today.
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