HCM CITY (VNS)— Arthritis – once an affliction of the middle-aged and elderly - is now increasingly common in young people.
Associate professor Le Anh Thu, head of the Cho Ray Hospital's Muscle, Bone and Arthritis Ward, said about 70,000 young people came to her hospital for arthritis checks last year, thousands more than in 2011.
Tang Ha Nam Anh, head of the Trauma and Orthopaedic Ward of the Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, said that about 150 young people have their joints checked in the hospital each day. In contrast, five years ago, he only saw a few dozen.
Most of the patients are office employees and manual workers, he said.
"Normally the disease hits middle-aged people between 45 and 50 years old. It's also common in elderly people due to the natural aging process," Anh said. "However, recently some patients have begun to suffer from arthritis when they are only 35 - or even younger."
Thu from Cho Ray Hospital said that a lack of exercise was the most likely cause of the problem.
"In modern life, there are lots of machines and supportive tools to help humans do every task, so young people exercise less and less. Many organs on their body start to degenerate," she said.
Moreover, following an unbalanced diet with too much fat can lead to obesity and arthritis, especially in the knees, Thu added.
Research by the HCM City Spinal Column Society last year showed that 30 per cent of 35-year-old people in the country suffer from arthritis. In the 1990s, the rate was less than 10 per cent.
"The increase is alarming, as bone and joint diseases need to be treated for a long time and will be a burden for families, society and the health insurance system," said Thu.
Physical degeneration cannot be avoided when people get old, but proper diet and exercise can slow the process, particularly in those over 40, she said.
She added that arthritis patients should control their weight and should not carry heavy things on their shoulders and back or play sports that require too much physical strength.
Glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin D and calcium can also help treat the condition. — VNS