From our mid-30s onwards, more bone is broken down than made, resulting in a gradual decrease in bone strength as we age. Women lose 10 per cent of their bone mass during the first five years of menopause due to reduced oestrogen levels.
Musculoskeletal disorders are conditions of the bones, muscles and their attachments. There are more than 100 of these disorders, the most common being arthritis and osteoporosis.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis and affects about one in four people in Australia over the age of 65.
Rheumatologist Dr Ai Tran says it is most likely to develop in people over the age of 45, although it can also occur in younger people.
“We are not certain what the causes of osteoarthritis are but being overweight, having a family history or an injury might increase your chances of having osteoarthritis,” says Dr Tran.
“It is either idiopathic, in which genetics and hormones play a role, or it culminates from metabolic problems.”
“The latter type is preventable through diet and exercise.”
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that covers the end of bones becomes brittle and breaks down. Some pieces may break away and float around the synovial fluid. People suffering from osteoarthritis may experience pain, joint stiffness, muscle
weakness, disability and deformity.