Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis is a type of bone condition caused by inflammation, atrophy, and the eventual reduction of cartilage surrounding the joint. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage weakens over time hence affecting musculoskeletal functioning.

Osteoarthritis is the most obscure kind of arthritis and currently troubles over 10 million people in America alone. The condition is chronic, meaning that the signs and symptoms slowly aggravate over time. Right now osteoarthritis remains incurable. Although, there are therapeutic methods available that can assist in minimizing the swelling and concurrently, the pain it causes. Certain methods also maintain the person’s mobility and activity. Doctors state that people affected with the condition who take initiative in actively managing their osteoarthritis are at better stature to gain control over the signs and symptoms of their condition.

Any joints in the body may also be impacted. Although, most cases of the disease were found to mostly affect the person’s hands, hips, knees, lower back, and neck. Osteoarthritis has three distinguishing elements including development of bone growths within the joint’s end points, cartilage damage, and synovitis, which is inflammation of joint tissues.

Osteoarthritis Risk Factors:

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include gender and age. The condition is found to be more common in women than men, particularly those 50 years of age or older. Younger people become potential candidates usually following severe joint trauma. The widespread myth that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of aging is completely false. During studies, there have been patients over the age of 80 who have yet to be diagnosed with signs of the condition.

The most common osteoarthritis symptoms include joint pain, discomfort when moving, and stiffness, which is more severe during mornings and elevates within half an hour when the person begins moving.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms:

In some instances, patients with osteoarthritis may have no signs and symptoms of the condition. Symptoms are often only felt in either one side or part, or just a few at any single time. Typically, the symptoms appear gradually. Reduced muscle mass and tenderness in the affected area may also be noticed. Other osteoarthritis symptoms include limited range of motion in the affected area and a distinguishable warmth in the joint area.

When should you see a doctor? A person with joint swelling or pain that has been going on for a few weeks should consult an orthopedic. Those already on a medication regiment targeted for osteoarthritis should talk with a healthcare professional for possible side effects like constipation, stomach discomfort, or tarry stools.

Osteoarthritis Treatment:

Diagnosing osteoarthritis involves undergoing test procedures your general practitioner may advise. These include x-ray, MRI, blood exam, and joint fluid analysis. Treatment for osteoarthritis may differ depending on the severity of the condition and other key factors contributing to the condition. Medication including paracetamol, ibuprofen and NSAIDs may be advised to lessen the pain and reduce the swelling.

As the age-old saying goes – prevention is better than cure. Help prevent osteoarthritis by implementing proper body mechanics during heavy lifting and other rigorous activities. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are also important preventive measures.