Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is common and affects over 35% of persons 60 years of age and older. As the U.S. population ages, its prevalence is expected to rise. It results from the joint’s failure to repair damages that occur as a result of stress on the joint. While cartilage (the padding in the center of every joint) loss is fundamental, OA is a disease of the whole joint. The rate of disease progression over time differs from person to person. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, reduced joint motion, and muscle weakness. Long-term consequences include reduced physical activity, deconditioning, impaired sleep, fatigue, depression, and disability. Symptom severity and joint damage as seen on X rays is often discordant. As the disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune disorder that manifests as a chronic, intractable activation of the intestinal immune system. There are two types of IBD – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These subtypes are differentiated based on disease location and microscopic findings on biopsy, although considerable overlap exists between the two subtypes. Typically, Crohn’s affects the small intestine while ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine. The peak incidence of

Tuberculosis (TB) is an ancient disease that was relatively uncommon here in the U.S until the 1980s. Despite the fact that it was rare, there were some famous historical figures, for example Doc Holliday, who suffered from it. It gave rise to sanitariums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as it was thought that fresh air, rather than the highly polluted air then present in cities, would help cure it. There was no treatment for it until the advent of antibiotics in the mid

Now that we are in the middle of flu season, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the flu. A few months ago, I discussed flu vaccines, so I won’t repeat myself on that subject. This year’s flu season is expected to be much less severe than normal due to all the precautions that we are taking because of the coronavirus. Remember that the seasonal flu usually causes between 25,000 and 50,000 deaths a year, and most of these deaths occur in people who are at high risk for complications

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is defined by its cardinal symptoms (recurrent and troublesome heartburn and regurgitation) or by its specific complications (esophagitis, peptic strictures [scarring and blockage of the esophagus], and Barrett esophagus). GERD is caused by stomach contents, which include very potent acids and digestive enzymes, reaching the esophagus. The stomach has a mucosal barrier that prevents its contents from digesting the stomach itself, but the esophagus does

It is often said that death defines life, or said another way, it is death that gives meaning to life. We all face death, but unfortunately, not all humans have to deal with ageing (or aging if you prefer). Too many young people have their lives cut short by wars, disease, drugs, violence, etc., before they have a chance to age. Another common saying is that youth is wasted on the young, but that’s a topic for another day.

Most humans will grow old and experience ageing, which is usually not

Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as fish oil, have been around for years. Last month, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of the STRENGTH trial, which looked at whether omega-3 fatty acids were helpful at preventing heart disease and stroke. The trial was huge with tens of thousands of participants in countries in North and South America and Asia. While the results of the trial were disappointing (they failed to show a reduction in risk of heart disease with

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