Ageing is inevitable. We know that we will grow old, but we get so caught up in the present that we forget to slow down and take care of our bodies, including our joints. Our joints age with us too, but why does this happen?
What Are Joints?
Joints refer to the areas in our body where our bones meet.¹ Most of our joints are synovial joints which allow for movement, such as our elbow and knee joints. Such synovial joints have smooth, white tissues called articular cartilage covering the ends of our bones. This allows our bones to glide over each other smoothly with minimal friction, enabling easier movement.² Unfortunately, these joints do not remain young and functional forever. They ‘age’ because their regenerative properties weaken over time, thus leading to progressive joint degradation.
Joint Degradation & Regeneration
We use our joints daily to carry out activities such as walking and running. As a result, the articular cartilage at our synovial joints wears down over time.³ The ends of our bones become more exposed with lesser protection from the cartilage tissue, hence leading to further damage. The degradation of our articular cartilage is further sped up when:
1. Repetitive stress is exerted onto the same joints, such as from excessive running, or
2. Extra pressure is placed on our joints, such as our body’s heavy weight.
Though the articular cartilage has regenerative properties, they are limited and will generally decrease with age.⁴ This insufficient regeneration coupled with the increasing degradation lead to an overall breakdown of our joint cartilage.
Therefore, it is important to slow down joint degradation in order to maintain our joints.
However, what happens when we continuously stress our joints? It may lead to one of the most common joint disorders – Osteoarthritis.¹
Osteoarthritis, or OA, is characterised by the degradation and subsequent loss of articular cartilage, which causes pain when our bones rub against each other.⁵ It is a leading cause of disability worldwide⁶ and is one of the top 10 reasons for the loss of healthy years in Singaporeans.⁷ Locally in Singapore, OA is expected to become more prevalent with an ageing population and rising obesity rate.⁸
Most patients suffering from OA tend to experience common symptoms such as:
Joint pain after walking or standing forvlong periods of time
Redness & swelling in areas around their joints
Stiffness in joints after sitting for prolonged periods of time or towards the end of the day
Grating, cracking or popping sounds when moving their joints⁹
OA is more prevalent amongst the elderly due to the loss of regenerative properties and faster degradation of their joints. However, anyone can be diagnosed with OA if they are not careful with or place too much stress on their joints. This is especially common for athletes and obese individuals, as there is additional stress placed on the joints on top of degradation caused by their daily activities.
This then leads to the next question:
How Do We Stop Cartilage Breakdown?
Unfortunately, the short answer is: You can’t. Our bodies simply do not have the ability to regenerate sufficiently, which is why our joints and body age in the first place. However, we want to age gracefully and stay healthy, and one of the ways we can do that is by delaying cartilage breakdown. Being active can help strengthen the joints to delay their breakdown, though caution must be exercised to not overexert yourself. Otherwise, the opposite may result instead when injuries occur.
Health supplements are also a commonly used way to slow down cartilage degradation as certain supplements are formulated to reduce pain and inflammation. One of these supplements is Ginflex™. Ginflex™ is a natural, 100% plant-based therapy suitable for adults including elderly who frequently suffer from such joint issues.
With its 4-in-1 optimised formula, Ginflex™ is able to slow down cartilage degradation and reduce joint pain and inflammation for patients suffering from OA.
Even if you are a young and healthy adult, it is never too early to start taking preventive measures, especially because OA is a degenerative condition that progressively worsens with time.
Stay tuned for next week’s article where we share tips and tricks on how you can maintain joint health!
1. Juneja, P., Munjal, A. and Hubbard, J., 2022. Anatomy, Joints. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507893/>
2. Clark, N., Glaister, M., Cannon, L. and Perrem, N., 2020. The physiology of disuse, immobilization and low-load environments. A Comprehensive Guide to Sports Physiology and Injury Management, pp.15-24
3. Wang, M. and Peng, Z., 2015. Wear in human knees. Biosurface and Biotribology, 1(2), pp.98-112
4. Lotz, M. and Loeser, R., 2012. Effects of aging on articular cartilage homeostasis. Bone, 51(2), pp.241-248
5. Lawlor, D., 2022. Osteoarthritis - Canyon State Rheumatology. [online] Canyon State Rheumatology. Available at: <https://canyonstatejointdoc.com/osteoarthritis/>
6. Liow, Y., Wang, W. and Low, V., 2017. Outpatient management of knee osteoarthritis. Singapore Medical Journal, 58(10), pp.580-584.
7. Who.int. 2022. Global health estimates: Leading causes of DALYs. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/mortality-and-global-health-estimates/global-health-estimates-leading-causes-of-dalys>
8. Leung, Y., Pua, Y. and Thumboo, J., 2013. A Perspective on Osteoarthritis Research in Singapore. Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare, 22(1), pp.31-39
9. Nuh.com.sg. 2022. Osteoarthritis. [online] Available at: <https://www.nuh.com.sg/Health-Information/Diseases-Conditions/Pages/Osteoarthritis.aspx>
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are given in relation to the medical information supplied in the article, and that no liability will accrue to Miraco Nutripharm Pte Ltd or any affiliated authors in the event that a user suffers any loss as a result of reliance upon the information.