LETTER- Age isn't so important in osteo

I respectfully have to disagree with Dr. Hong's #1 risk factor, age, for osteoarthritis. [Dr. Hook, April 23: "Walk the walk: Arthritis event helps others in pain"]

I think the more appropriate terminology for describing the cause of osteoarthritis is time. More accurately, dysfunction over a period of time.

I'm reminded of the time a patient had arthritis present at the lowest vertebra is his back. He commented, "It's just old age, Doc," To which I replied, "Oh, yeah, how much older is this vertebra than the one two levels higher that looks just fine?"

I've seen 30-year-olds with severe osteoarthritic changes, and I've seen 80-year-olds with no signs of OA. Dr. Hong's thinking is typical of the traditional medical approach of removing responsibility from the patient. Blame it on genetics, age, etc.

The current status of our nation's health is very poor, and I believe it's this type of limited thinking that put us there. While there is no doubt things like genetics play a role, current medical research in the field of epigenetics shows that our environment/lifestyle is much more of a factor in how genes are actually expressed. This model allows the individual to accept responsibility for their health.

Until we truly address the real causes of most disease and ill health, which is unhealthy lifestyle habits and stress, we will continually wonder how we're going to get everyone insured and pay for this terribly expensive system of health care that consistently ranks near the bottom when compared with other industrialized nations. I welcome all questions/comments.

Brycen A. Hudock, D.C.
Charlottesville
drbrycen@truehealthva.com

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