As Baby Boomers Age, Staying Active Is A Top Priority

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While boomers remain young at heart, they are determined to retain the physical ability to continue doing the things they love. One of the biggest factors in staying active is maintaining healthy knees. Genzyme’s Synvisc® helps make sure their knees will carry them into the next stage of their lives.

The day after my first injection I was able to put on high heels and walk to church!

With baby boomers turning 60 this year, this generation of post-war babies is going to make sure that they don’t age like their parents. And while these boomers remain young at heart, they are determined to retain the physical ability to continue doing the things they love. One of the biggest factors in staying active is maintaining healthy knees.

When patients begin to suffer the onset of osteoarthritis (OA), early diagnosis and treatment are keys to maintaining mobility. According to the Arthritis Foundation, of the estimated 66 million people who had arthritis in 2005, 23.2 million live with chronic joint symptoms but have not been diagnosed by a doctor. Once those patients are properly diagnosed, treatment can begin and patients can get relief from their symptoms as soon as possible.

There are a variety of ways to treat OA of the knee. Weight loss and physical therapy are frequently the first step, often combined with over-the-counter or prescription pain pills. Natural treatments such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are also options, however, their effectiveness has been called into question. More advanced cases of OA may need surgery to “clean up” damaged cartilage while severe cases may require total knee replacement surgery. One treatment option that can be used at various stages of the disease’s progression is called viscosupplementation. The top selling product in the class, Synvisc, has been proven to provide up to six months of knee OA pain relief and has been used on more than 2.2 million knees in the U.S. alone.

“After years playing indoor soccer I ended up suffering from osteoarthritis and was forced to stop being active,” said Becky Reed, a 54-year-old daycare provider in St. Louis who chose Synvisc to alleviate her knee pain. “The day after my first injection I was able to put on high heels and walk to church!”

Synvisc is not a drug. It is local treatment for a local disease. In osteoarthritis, joint fluid can break down. Synvisc replaces this damaged fluid and provides a cushioning and lubricating effect. “Synvisc is applied locally, injected directly into the joint in a series of just three treatments that last for up to six months,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kraines, Medical Director, Genzyme. “This treatment offers a viable, non-surgical alternative for patients and helps them avoid the worry of side effects that can be associated with oral pain medications.”

About Synvisc®

Synvisc is used to relieve knee pain due to osteoarthritis (OA). It is for patients who do not get enough relief from simple painkillers such as acetaminophen, or from exercise and physical therapy.

Synvisc is generally well tolerated. However, it may not work for everyone. The side effects most commonly seen when Synvisc is injected into the knee were pain, swelling and/or fluid build-up around the knee. Cases where the swelling is extensive or painful should be discussed with your doctor. Other side effects such as rash have been reported rarely. Before trying Synvisc, tell your doctor if you are allergic to products from birds -- such as feathers, eggs, or poultry -- or if your leg is swollen or infected. Talk to your doctor before resuming strenuous weight-bearing activities after treatment. Synvisc has not been tested in children, pregnant women or women who are nursing. You should tell your doctor if you think you are pregnant or if you are nursing a child.

Facts about Osteoarthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, 66 million (nearly one in three adults) suffer from chronic joint pain and 21 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, which is characterized by a breakdown of the cartilage and a deterioration of the fluid in a joint. The symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, ranging from mild to severe, and stiffness. Most of the people who have osteoarthritis are older than age 45, and women are more commonly affected than men.

About Genzyme

One of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people with serious diseases. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Genzyme's founding. Since 1981, the company has grown from a small start-up to a diversified enterprise with more than 8,000 employees in locations spanning the globe and 2005 revenues of $2.7 billion. Genzyme has been selected by FORTUNE as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for” in the United States.

With many established products and services helping patients in more than 80 countries, Genzyme is a leader in the effort to develop and apply the most advanced technologies in the life sciences. The company's products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant and immune diseases, and diagnostic testing. Genzyme's commitment to innovation continues today with a substantial development program focused on these fields, as well as heart disease and other areas of unmet medical need.

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Jenny Hoefel
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