A Close Look at Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is an illness that is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is a form of arthritis and is caused when the cartilage in your joints becomes worn down. This usually occurs over time and can be found in older individuals; however, there have been instances of younger people getting arthritis as well.
What is osteoarthritis?
All of the joints in your body, such as your knees, spine, elbows, toes, fingers, hips, wrists, and shoulders are susceptible to getting osteoarthritis. This illness usually affects one joint but can end up affecting more than one, especially when it comes to your fingers. Over the years, osteoarthritis tends to get worse rather than better. There are no existing cures for it, but there are some treatments available that can help with the pain and allow you to be active. There are some steps you can take to overcome your pain with osteoarthritis as well.
What are some signs of osteoarthritis?
Symptoms of osteoarthritis tend to develop slowly and worsen over time. You may witness pain in your joints while using them or after you have used them. Sometimes you may feel pain when using your joints for the first time after inactivity. You may also feel tenderness in your joints when applying a little bit of pressure on them. Stiff joints, which you may start to notice after a night of sleep or a long period of being inactive, can also be a sign of osteoarthritis. If you notice that you are becoming less flexible with one of your joints, this too can be a symptom.
Others symptoms include a grating sensation while using the joint, bone spurs (these are hard lumps that sometimes form in the joint), and swelling. You may find these symptoms in a joint located in your hips, knees, hands or spine; these are the most common areas.
What causes osteoarthritis?
Over time, the cartilage in your joints will begin to wear away, causing a lack of cushion for your joints to operate on. Your bones will begin to rub against one another, causing a lot of pain. The surface begins to become rough and can become irritated. In the end, your joints will become painful to move. In most of the cases that have been reported, there are no clear reasons why osteoarthritis occurs. Scientists believe that there could be a number of reasons why, including obesity, aging, joint injury, joint stress, heredity and muscle weakness.
Who’s at risk of getting osteoarthritis?
Individuals who are older tend to be more likely to develop osteoarthritis; most adults over the age of 40 fall into this category. Those younger than 40 are rarely diagnosed with it. Women are also more likely to develop osteoarthritis, but the reason for this is unknown. There are some people who are born with joint deformities, and this can increase their chances of getting osteoarthritis. People who are obese are carrying more weight than normal and this can put a lot of stress on the joints, causing them to lose cartilage. If you have ever injured your joints, you too may be at risk of getting osteoarthritis. Individuals who have been diagnosed with diseases that affect the bones and joints are also at risk - these illnesses include gout, rheumatoid arthritis and Paget’s disease.