What is osteoarthritis and what causes it? Is there a cure and treatment available? Perhaps these are the most common questions you’ll hear from a patient diagnosed with the disease. Generally, people are aware of the term arthritis. You know that it’s the inflammation of the joints. But most aren’t acquainted with the term osteoarthritis, although it’s the most common type of arthritis among the elderly.
There are millions of people suffering from osteoarthritis around the globe. Age, gender and genes are the most common predisposing factors. The chances of getting the disease gets higher, as a person ages. More women than men are afflicted with arthritis. Younger people who get the disease are said to have acquired it due to heredity.
Typically, once the nature of arthritis has been properly diagnosed a treatment will be prescribed. The exact treatment varies according to the type of arthritis. However, they usually all include eating healthily and preforming regular exercise. Those who’re obese are at greater risk for developing arthritis and even loosing just 10 pounds can significantly decrease joint pain. Heat can also help relieve pain for some arthritic individuals.
Osteoarthritis is also referred to as wear and tear arthritis. The cartilages are primarily affected in this kind of arthritis. The cartilage acts as a cushion in between joints to prevent friction in normal joints. But in osteoarthritis, the cartilages lose their elasticity and become stiff. This makes them prone to damage and leads to wearing away. A worn away cartilage would cause bones to rub on each other causing inflammation and pain.
Some of the symptoms you gotta watch out include movement accompanied by joint pains and aches. Sometimes you can feel pain after long periods of being inactive or not moving at all. Joints can also feel stiff after a couple hours of rest. Moderate symptoms include swelling, tenderness and inflammation around the joints. These affects mobility and diversity of motion of the affected joints. The more severe symptoms will include joint deformities and inability to move.
There are several treatment options for people suffering from osteoarthritis. They vary from the simple conservative medications to the more aggressive procedures such as surgery. NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed. Analgesics are likewise given to alleviate pain from inflamed joints. Steroid and hyaluronate injections are also given to patients to relieve pain and inflammation in the affected joint. When all other treatments have been exhausted and have stopped working, surgery is considered.
There are several surgical procedures that can be performed. It can be as simple as replacing an element of the joint or as complicated as replacing all its components. Your doctor will evaluate your condition if you’re a possible candidate for surgical procedure. He will also assist you in deciding the best procedure for you.
Treatment will also include regular exercise that will allow you to maintain range of motion and help strengthen the muscles around the joint. Eating a nourishing diet can also assist in bone health and maintain ideal weight.