If cartilage doesn’t have its own blood supply and cant repair itself, how is it helped or hurt by drug therapy or good or bad lifestyle choices?

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It seems very isolated from the other body systems but what goes on in the body still affects it?

In: Biology

>If cartilage doesn’t have its own blood supply and cant repair itself, how is it helped or hurt by drug therapy or good or bad lifestyle choices?
>It seems very isolated from the other body systems but what goes on in the body still affects it?

*Every* piece of living tissue in your body is in one way or another connected to your circulatory system (otherwise it wouldn’t be able to survive), either by way of capillaries, your lymphatic system or by way of direct transfer from neighboring cells.

It might not have its own blood supply but that doesn’t mean it gets no blood or no nutrients from blood.

It is harder to specifically target cartilage with drug therapies but they will still work when taken properly. The capillaries and blood vessels nearby will still deliver nutrients by diffusion. Alot of body parts are provided for this way like skin, the largest organ in the body. Larger more important organs have their own direct blood supply such as the heart, liver etc.

Edit: added a missing bit

I’ll explain it with an illustration (TL;DR at the bottom if it’s too much of a pain, lol).

Most tissues are like hotels with a lot of rooms, each one with a cell within.

In high-metabolism tissues, that is, tissues that do a lot of activity and need a lot of energy (like the muscles, the brain and etc), you have room service (the blood vessels), so the cells in each room don’t need to waste time going after their food (nutrients, oxygen, water AND drugs) or waiting too long for it. It reaches them pretty fast.

In low-metabolism tissues, that is, tissues that kind of just “stay there” and don’t need a lot of energy (like cartilage and skin), there is no room service. The cells in rooms near the reception (the blood vessel) will go over there, grab their own food and an extra amount to leave at their neighbor room’s doorstep.

The cells inside that room will grab their own food from the doorstep, and take the rest to their neighbor room’s doorstep as well. The process will be repeated until even the cells staying at the rooms in the back of the hotel, far from the reception, have some food to enjoy.

This process is called diffusion. It a lot more time-consuming and difficult than the “conventional” blood irrigation system, but since those cells don’t “do much”, it suits them just fine and keeps the body from wasting unnecessary energy and time to irrigate them.

It means, however, that it will take longer for drugs/medicine to make an effect, since it’ll be a little harder for it to reach all the cells in the cartilage. Also, if you make good lifestyle choices, your cartilages will receive “healthy food”, even if it takes longer to obtain; if you make bad lifestyle choices, you cartilages will receive “junk food”, even if it takes longer to obtain. The effects of each type of food will eventually show, regardless of the time it takes.

I apologize if that’s way too long, but in rough terms, that’s about it! Hope it helps you. 🙂

TL;DR: Cartilage cells have to receive nutrients/drugs and hand it over to fellow cells one by one, rather than all of them receiving it directly from the blood vessel. It takes a lot more time and makes cartilage seem “less” affected by substances in the body, when in reality, it is – just at a considerably slower pace.