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In The News: January 2020

Statins are commonly-used drugs to lower cholesterol. Some studies have found that these drugs may also have a positive effect on bones. According to a recent study, the effect may depend on the dose. The study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (September 2019), examined the relationship between statins and the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. Researchers analyzed health data on 353,502 people who took statins, 11,701 of whom were diagnosed with osteoporosis. They were compared with over 7 million people who did not take statins. Overall, those who took statins were more likely than nonusers to have osteoporosis. However, the effect depended on the dose. Those who took a low statin dose of 10 milligrams (mg) a day actually had up to a 60% reduced risk of osteoporosis. Taking 40 mg or more of simvastatin or 20 mg or more of atorvastatin or rosuvastatin increased risk.

Strengthen Your Core First

Core exercises are the starting point of overall fitness because you need to hold those muscles engaged while you strengthen other muscles, such as the biceps in the arms or the quadriceps in the legs. Smith suggests setting short-term goals (for about a month) and then more long-term goals. Once you have achieved short-term goals, such as getting around more easily, add other types of weight-training or resistance exercises to build muscleelsewhere.

Medication Management of Arthritis

For most older adults, Dr. Hashmi recommends starting with acetaminophen (Tylenol). "It is weaker than an NSAID, but you can compensate for that by taking a higher dose," he says. A potential side effect is liver damage, but you can safely take up to 3 grams a day. Tylenol typically comes in pills of 325 or 500 milligrams (mg). "You can take up to two 500-mg pills three times a day without fear it will affect the liver," he says.

Your Aging Spine

Your spine is a column made of a stack of small bones (vertebrae) with the spinal cord running through it. Each vertebra has a cylindrical part (inside is the spinal cord and nerve roots), on the back of which is a bony ring with spiky projections (called the spinous process). The cylinders are stacked on top of one another and separated with shock-absorbing cushions (disks).

Relieve Stress, Ease Pain

Its easy to get stressed out from everyday pressures of work, family and other responsibilities. Now that the holidays are here, you may be feeling even more stress and anxiety. For those with arthritis or another chronic condition, the result may be increased pain.

In The News: December 2019

Blood Sugar Often Not Tested Before Joint Replacement SurgeryMany people with osteoarthritis also have type 2 diabetes. Having high blood sugar levels, which is characteristic of diabetes, can increase risk for complications from surgery. Addressing risk factors and lowering blood sugar levels can reduce complications. However, testing blood sugar levels before joint replacement surgery for hip or knee osteoarthritis is not done often enough, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open (September 2019).

Preserving Hips

When you think about hip pain, osteoarthritis in older adults may be what comes to mind. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of hip pain. But the hip joint is susceptible to many other conditions as well, and they can affect people of all ages.

Practice Proper Driving Posture

Good posture can go a long way toward relieving chronic musculoskeletal pain, especially in the neck, back, hips and knees. But, its not likely that any of us has picture perfect posture, says Cleveland Clinic physical therapist Mary Morrison, PT, DScPT. Over the years, we tend to become less flexible in our muscles, connective tissue and joints, and our bodies start to adapt to how we typically align ourselves in our daily activities.

Ask The Doctors: December 2019

Q: Sometimes my knee locks up and I cant bend or straighten it. Eventually, I can move it, but its sore. Whats wrong with my knee?A: There are several possibilities, but the most likely one is a torn meniscus. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in the knee joint. There are two types of cartilage in the knee. Articular cartilage covers the ends of the upper leg bone (femur) and the bone at the front of the lower leg (tibia).

When to Treat Dupuytrens

While engaged in a woodworking project you plane a board, and then you run your hand over it to make sure its nice and smooth. But your hand wont lay flat against the board. Or, you are washing windows and you find that when you press the cloth against the window pane, your hand doesnt lay flat.