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Health    Osteoarthritis
Also called: Degenerative joint disease, OA, Osteoarthrosis
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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects your hands, knees, hips or spine.

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include

  • Being overweight
  • Getting older
  • Injuring a joint

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods, including medical history, a physical exam, x-rays, or lab tests.

Treatments include exercise, medicines, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The following features are indicative of Osteoarthritis:
  • joint pain
  • tenderness
  • joint stiffness
  • loss of flexibility
  • grating sensation
  • bone spurs
It is possible that Osteoarthritis shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

Common Causes of Osteoarthritis

The following are the most common causes of Osteoarthritis:
  • deteriorated cartilage
  • previous joint injury
  • abnormal joint or limb development
  • inherited factors

Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Osteoarthritis:
  • older age
  • being women
  • obesity
  • genetic factor
  • bone deformities
  • joint injuries

Prevention of Osteoarthritis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Osteoarthritis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • maintain healthy body weight
  • exercise regularly

Occurrence of Osteoarthritis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Osteoarthritis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Osteoarthritis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Osteoarthritis:
  • X-rays: To view bone spurs around a joint
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: To obtain the detailed images of bone and soft tissues
  • Blood tests: To evaluate the causes of joint pain
  • Joint fluid analysis: To determine the inflammation and pain in your joints
  • Physical examination: To examine the affected joint

Doctor for Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
  • Rheumatologist
  • Orthopedic surgeons

Complications of Osteoarthritis if untreated

Yes, Osteoarthritis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Osteoarthritis is left untreated:
  • severe joint pain and stiffness

Procedures for Treatment of Osteoarthritis

The following procedures are used to treat Osteoarthritis:
  • Joint replacement surgery: Replaces the damaged joint surfaces with plastic and metal parts
  • Osteotomy: Cuts are made across the bone either above or below the knee to removes or adds a wedge of bone
  • Injections of hyaluronic acid: Provides relief from pain

Medicines for Osteoarthritis

Below is the list of medicines used for Osteoarthritis:

Self-care for Osteoarthritis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Osteoarthritis:
  • Regular physical therapy: Strengthen the muscles around your joint, raises your range of motion and lowers the pain
  • Use Occupational therapy: Relieves the pain
  • Tai chi and yoga: Lowers the stress and reduces the osteoarthritis pain and improve movements

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Osteoarthritis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Osteoarthritis:
  • Acupuncture: Relieves pain and improve function in people who have knee osteoarthritis
  • Intake glucosamine and chondroitin supplements: Beneficial for people with osteoarthritis
  • Use avocado-soybean unsaponifiables dietary supplements: Prevents joint damage

Patient Support for Treatment of Osteoarthritis

The following actions may help Osteoarthritis patients:
  • Talk to your doctor: Provides you the ideas about how to cope with the disease and can refer you to someone who can help

Time for Treatment of Osteoarthritis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Osteoarthritis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Osteoarthritis.

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