May 12 (UPI) -- A good diet and regular exercise are vital for a healthy life but new research suggests they may actually help prevent the development of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis affects 8.75 million people, mostly post-menopausal women, in Britain and is the most common form of arthritis in the country. Post-menopausal women are more predisposed to getting osteoarthritis due to genetics, hormones and biology.
Researchers at the University of Surrey in England have identified a link between metabolism and osteoarthritis. Metabolic changes from a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can trigger a genetic reprogramming of cells in the body.
These metabolic changes impact the cell's ability to produce energy causing it to generate alternative sources in order to function, leading to an overproduction of glucose, which transforms into lactic acid when not used for energy.
"For too long osteoarthritis has been known as the 'wear and tear disease' and it has been assumed that it is part and parcel of getting older," Ali Mobasheri, professor of musculoskeletal physiology at the University of Surrey, said in a press release. "However, this is not the case and what we have learned is that we can control and prevent the onset of this painful condition. It is important never to underestimate the significance of a healthy diet and lifestyle as not only does it impact upon our general well being but can alter the metabolic behavior of our cells, tissues and organs leading to serious illness."
Researchers state that by identifying metabolic changes in cells, it will be possible to control or significantly slow the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The study was published in Nature Reviews Rheumatology.