Eighty-five per cent of people suffering from osteoarthritis endure pain every day. Since there is still no cure, is important to start the correct treatment of symptoms as early as possible. Professor Jaap Harlaar is set to make an important and innovative contribution to problem.
Osteoarthritis is a form of rheumatism that involves a deterioration of the cartilage that cushions our joints. With our aging population, a great proportion of people is being faced with arthritis. It is estimated that the Netherlands already counts 1.5 million patients suffering from arthritis. In particular, women over the age of fifty have a high risk of contracting this disease. However, injuries (including those sustained while playing sports) can also cause arthritis in younger people as well. “Osteoarthritis symptoms differ from one individual to the next and can be caused by different things,” Harlaar explains. “These symptoms can be treated, but for each person you need to determine the mechanical load on the cartilage. Thus far, this has not been easy to accomplish, and a range of approaches is often required. As a result, it can take a long time before someone is really helped.”