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OA and diathesis stress

December 31, 2012

The diathesis stress model was originally introduced as a way of explaining why some people developed mental disorders and others did not.  Mental disorders could not be fully explained by genes or by experience, and so the diathesis stress model effectively described the contributions of both components.  Essentially, the diathesis stress model states that some combination of environmental and genetic can lead to pathology.  If the environmental stress (the oil in the glass) is added to the genetic vulnerability (the water in the glass) and it reaches a threshold, then the individual will develop the pathology.

This model can easily be applied to osteoarthritis.  Each person has a specific genetic make-up that can affect their vulnerability to osteoarthritis; they might have dense bones, weak cartilage, or a predisposition for obesity.

What is important here, is to understand the relationship between a genetic predisposition and environmental stress.  Since genetic code cannot be altered, the only thing within our power is to minimize the risk factors we develop.  If we act to stay light, fit, active, and healthy, onset of osteoarthritis may be delayed or even avoided entirely.



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