Osteoarthritis

By: Maria Zimmerman

Definintion

A common form of arthritis that is cause by wear and tear on a joint or by repeated injuries to a joint

Symptoms

Symptoms develop slowly, usually beginning as a mild ache or soreness. It most commonly occurs in hips, knees, spine, and fingers.

  • pain
  • stiffness
  • muscle weakness
  • swelling
  • deformed joints
  • reduced range of motion and loss of use of the joint
  • cracking & creaking

Causes

Osteoarthritis is mostly caused by aging. The water content of your cartilage increases and the protein makeup of cartilage degenerates. The use of the joints repeatedly over the years can cause damage to your cartilage and leads to joint pain and swelling.

Prevention

You can take steps to help prevent osteoarthritis. If you already have osteoarthritis, these same steps can help lead you from making it worse.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis can begins with your medical history, or information about your health. Your doctor will ask you about conditions that run in your family and will want to find out about some symptoms that could lead you to seek medical attention.


Information your doctor may need to know:

description of your symptoms

details about when and how the pain began
where you are feeling pain
how symptoms are affecting you
other medical problems that could be causing these

Treatment

There is no cure, but there are treatments that can help reduce the pain.


Medications


  • Acetaminophen
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Narcotics


Therapy


  • Physical
  • Occupational
  • Braces or Shoe Inserts
  • A chronic pain class


Surgical and other procedures



  • Cortisone Shots
  • Lubrication Injections
  • Realigning Bones
  • Joint replacement



Statistics

  • 27 million Americans have Osteoarthritis
  • 1 in 2 people will have Osteoarthritis in their lifetime
  • 3 in 5 people who are obese are at risk of Osteoarthritis
  • each year there are about 632,000 of joint replacement due to Osteoarthritis
  • In 2004 there were 662,000 hospitalizations due to Osteoarthritis