Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders represent another group of diseases whose incidence steeply increases with age and which are rarely fatal by themselves, but which account for a major share of detriments in quality of life, disability and costs for medical and nursing care among older adults. Up to 10% of cases of severe disability are mainly caused by these disorders (Ramroth et al., 2005). The most important disabling musculoskeletal disorders include osteoporosis and osteoarthrits. The former is the main reason for the strong increase in the incidence of fractures with age, particularly among women. Osteoarthrits (OA) affects a variety of joints, with OA of the hip and knee accounting for the largest share in morbidity, disability and costs. Causes and risk factors are still rather incompletely understood. Apart from congenital malformations and injury, ''systemic'' factors, such as overweight and related metabolic disorders, may play a major role, and their reduction may provide possibilities of primary prevention (Stiirmer et al., 1998, 2000).

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