The risk of developing arthritis has increased among Iranians, as they are being diagnosed with such diseases at younger ages.
According to statistics, the age of getting bone and joint diseases has declined from 55 to 30 years among Iranians, IRNA reported.
Orthopedists blame a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activities for the high rate of joint diseases in the country.
Arthritis is a serious health condition, but can be treated or possibly prevented. Many of the habits recommended for a healthy lifestyle play a role in preventing some types of arthritis and related conditions.
Common tips for prevention include:
• Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to help maintain your recommended weight. Women who are overweight have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knees. Learn more about nutrition.
• Talk to your doctor about taking vitamins and mineral supplements. Having an insufficient level of vitamin D decreases the amount of calcium your body can absorb. That coupled with lower calcium levels can help contribute to osteoporosis.
• Exercise regularly to strengthen muscles around joints and help increase bone density. Exercise may reduce wear and tear on your joints, which can help prevent injury and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. Increased bone density also can help stave off osteoporosis.
• Avoid smoking. Both habits weaken the structure of bone, which puts you at higher risk for fractures.
• Discuss hormone replacement therapy with your primary care provider if you are postmenopausal. Many women lose bone mass during the pre- and postmenopausal years when their ovaries stop producing estrogen. One of estrogen’s functions is to help keep calcium in the bones and maintain bone mass. Lowered estrogen level is a major cause of osteoporosis in women after menopause.
Patients diagnosed with arthritis often worry about the late stages of treatment consisting of joint replacement surgery. However, by making the following efforts aimed at preventing the progression of arthritis, many patients can avoid needing joint replacement:
Weight Control: Obesity: It is one of the most significant factors contributing to the development and progression of arthritis. By losing even a small amount of weight, patients often find dramatic relief of their arthritis.
Activity Modification: Impact sports can accelerate the progression of arthritis. Patients with arthritis should perform low-impact exercise activities. The best low-impact exercise options include cycling, swimming, pilates and yoga. Stair machines and walking can all be low-impact, but are not as good.
Joint Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin are often sold as ‘joint’ supplements. The benefit of these medications has been the subject of controversy, but they are thought to be most effective in patients with early arthritis.
Worldview Colors Your Life
The mass media is full of murders, kidnappings, accidents and injuries, not to mention war. These are some of the shared fears of those affected by “mean world syndrome”.
According to experts, people need to take precautions to get beyond this negative perspective and try to have faith that everything will, in fact, be all right, TodaysZaman reported.
We all see an endless stream of news these days about terrible things happening around the world. Some people become more and more paranoid the more these stories abound; others treat the stories more normally and are able to go about their daily business.
There are even some who worry that a virus or certain sickness will ultimately cause the end of humanity. This may or may not happen at some point, but what is certain is that this syndrome is spreading fast.
The founding rector of Uskudar University, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan, notes that this particular psychological state results from a general decrease in one’s sense of security and from a heightened sense of threat from the world itself. This skewed perspective of the world around us does not just affect certain individuals, but entire societies.
As people see the world as an increasingly uninhabitable place, pessimism begins to take hold and people lose their interest in life itself.
Psychologist Mehtap Kayaoglu says that those who suffer from extreme cases of “mean world syndrome” are people with personality and character imbalances, as well as an imbalance in the way they perceive things around them.
She notes that one of her patients was a woman whose relative had gotten cancer; the woman was convinced that she too would get cancer, even going as far as to have all the necessary tests.
After no cancer had been detected, the woman was still sure that somehow she had cancer, although the doctor had failed to find it.
Kayaoglu notes that sometimes spouses can also adversely affect each other’s behavior and perspectives. She asserts that adults tend to teach children a negative outlook from a very early age, telling them things like “Don’t talk to people you don’t know, don’t take chocolate from anyone, it is probably drugged.”
As a result, we begin to see the world around us as a dirty, dangerous and threatening place from a very early age.
She notes that, no matter what, we need to try to remain positive and full of hope about the world, if for no other reason than our own mental health.
Some Humans Are Mean
There is, in fact, a religious aspect to the whole “The world is bad!” rhetoric we hear.
Marmara University religious sociologist, Ali Coskun, says, “First precautions, then faith!” is the way to go in terms of a stance on the world around us. He also advises those who are Muslim to read certain passages from the Qur’an, especially the small chapters named Falaq and Nas, as well as the Ayat Al-Kursi, are at the top of his list.
Coskun reminds people that there are bad things that do happen in the world, but that these help to remind us of the value of goodness in the word. The bad around us is created by humans themselves and should not be confused with things the world itself--which is naturally good--made happen.
Pharmaceutical Industry Focuses on Profit, Not Welfare
Innovation in the pharmaceutical industry has declined drastically in the last ten years despite the high profitability of the so-called ‘research-based’ industry, and the availability of better and more powerful science and technological tools.
Funding for research is focused on areas with the greatest potential for profit. Those areas that would actually have the biggest impact on public health remain largely ignored. A clear indicator is the lack of investment in fighting diseases that are prevalent in developing countries, such as Chagas’ disease, tuberculosis and malaria, IPS reported.
The problem is that although millions would benefit from this type of investment, the majority of them are poor people who do not create an attractive market for big companies. Neither can they benefit from treatments for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular insufficiencies and cancer: even where treatments are available, the high prices of patented medications make them inaccessible.
As a result, in the 21st century, communicable diseases cause more than 10 million deaths per year--according to Health Action International--of which 90 percent take place in developing countries; a third of the global population does not have regular access to the medicines that they need.
The situation is worse in least developed countries in which up to half of the population does not have access to medicinal treatment.
From both a moral point of view as well as a human rights perspective --the right to health is recognized in international conventions and in numerous national constitutions--this situation calls for greater responsibility by governments and a new research paradigm of pharmaceutical industries centered on public health interests, especially to meet the needs of developing countries.
World’s Biggest, Oldest Trees Dying
Scientists warned of an alarming increase in the death rates of the largest living organisms on the planet--the giant, old trees that harbor and sustain countless birds and wildlife.
Research by universities in Australia and the United States, published in Science, said ecosystems worldwide were in danger of losing forever their largest and oldest trees unless there were policy changes to better protect them, AFP reported.
“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University, the lead author of a study into the problem.
“Just as large-bodied animals such as elephants, tigers and cetaceans have declined drastically in many parts of the world, a growing body of evidence suggests that large old trees could be equally imperiled.”
Lindenmayer, along with colleagues from the James Cook University in Australia and Washington University in America, undertook their study after examining Swedish forestry records going back to the 1860s.
They found alarming losses of big trees, ranging from 100 to 300 years old, at all latitudes in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, South America, Latin America and Australia.
The trees at risk included mountain ash in Australia, pine trees in America, California redwoods and baobabs in Tanzania.
The study showed that trees were not only dying en masse in forest fires, but were also perishing at 10 times the normal rate in non-fire years.
The study said it appeared to be down to a combination of rapid climate change causing drought and high temperatures, as well as rampant logging and agricultural land clearing.
“It is a very, very disturbing trend,” said Bill Laurance of James Cook University.
“We are talking about the loss of the biggest living organisms on the planet, of the largest flowering plants on the planet, of organisms that play a key role in regulating and enriching our world.”
Large old trees play critical ecological roles, providing nesting or sheltering cavities for up to 30 percent of all birds and animals in some ecosystems.
They also store huge amounts of carbon, recycle soil nutrients, create rich patches for other life to thrive in and influence the flow of water within landscapes.
Secondhand Smoke Kills
Some 600,000 individuals, particularly kids, die worldwide due to secondhand smoking every year.