Bone and joint health – it’s in your hands – take action!

“It’s in Your Hands, Take Action!” was one of the slogans of the American Bone and Joint Action Week held last October 12-20th. The aim of this health event was to raise awareness about prevention, management and treatment of different musculoskeletal conditions. Why talk about this? Arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis and trauma are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide affecting hundreds of millions of people. Obviously excess body weight and physical inactivity are to blame, but unhealthy dietary patterns should be considered as well. By 2017, the global bone and joint health supplement market is predicted to hit US$ 9 billion globally as the overweight and ageing populations continue to grow and the maintenance of healthy bones and joints becomes more important. Let’s help people take action by designing better targeted dietary supplements!

There are common misconceptions about musculoskeletal conditions: People believe that they only affect the elderly, that they are inevitable consequences of ageing. In reality, musculoskeletal conditions are diagnosed in people of all age groups, including children and adolescents. Indeed, the global occurrence of musculoskeletal problems is predicted to increase greatly due to increasing life expectancy but also due to changes in risk factors (overweight, physical inactivity, poor nutrition). The most frequent musculoskeletal conditions include arthritis and its related conditions, osteoporosis, back and neck pain, injuries due to falls, sports and military activities, etc.

Arthritis is an illness of the joints mostly affecting older people (osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis). However, a subgroup of young patients can also develop a severe form of arthritis, called rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease in which the synovial membrane of the joint becomes inflamed, resulting in swelling, stiffness, pain, limited range of motion, joint deformity and disability.

This article is available in full in the Autumn 2015 issue of Nutraceuticals Now