Why women, farmers are more prone to osteoarthritis than others – Expert, WHO

WOMEN and farmers have been identified to be at higher risk of osteoarthritis according to a World Health Organisation scientific group on the assessment of osteoporosis at primary health care level.

Dr Abraham Oluwadamilare, a physiotherapist at the Ageless Physiotherapy Clinic, who spoke to Tribune Online on the high risk of osteoarthritis in relation to a recently held Pain Free Day campaign organised by Dexa Medica in Mile 12, Lagos State, on Tuesday, August 8, 2016, made the statement, while referencing the WHO statistics.

He disclosed that “9.6 per cent of men and 18.0 per cent of women aged over 60 years are estimated to have symptomatic osteoarthritis in their life time, while farming one to nine years increases the risk of osteoarthritis 4.5 times and farming 10 or more years increases the risk 9.3 times.”

“According to the statistics, 80 per cent of those with osteoarthritis will have limitations in movement, and 25 per cent cannot perform their major daily activities of life. It is also estimated that hip fracture is fatal 20 per cent of the time and permanently disables a further 50 per cent only 30 per cent fully recover. 1.7 million hip fractures occurred worldwide in 1990; this figure is expected to rise to six million in 2050.”

He also said that the prevalence of the disease in women is as a result of the sequence of “hormonal changes”, which strain their bone muscles.

Explaining, he said, “Osteoporosis is common to the female gender because of hormonal changes in their system, which strain the muscles and bone ligament. This is why they are more prone to pain and by extension osteoporosis than men. The pain rate increases as one advances in age. This is because the bones are at reduced density”.

He also said that manual farmers and labourers are in high risk of frequent and recurring osteoporosis more than any other groups due to the muscular demand of their jobs.

“The jobs that require a lot of physical energy such as farming and other manual jobs also increase the level of pain in the body. The manual farmer is subjected to a lot of muscle straining and calcium demanding tasks,” he said.

Also speaking at the fifth round of the Pain Free Day initiative held in Mile 12 main market, the Boska Brand Executive, Tunde Ojedokun, said that the initiative was organised to raise awareness on the risks associated with pain and strenuous activities. He also stated that the best way to nip pain in the bud is by ensuring a stress-free lifestyle.