Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Usually, arthritis causes inflammation and pain in one or more joints in the body. OA is also known as degenerative joint disease.
Cartilage, the soft bone tissue, acts as the cushion for joints and helps free and smooth movement. Cartilage is often the first part of the body to be affected by a lifetime of physical activities, as it degenerates and causes chronic inflammation in the joint. The affected cartilage might wear away completely if it is not treated on time.
Osteoarthritis causes inflammation and thickening of the membrane called synovium produces a thick fluid, which ensures smooth functioning of the cartilage healthy. Degeneration of cartilage results in lesser lubrication from the synovial fluid for the nearby bones. The joints most commonly affected by OA are in the hands, feet, spine, and weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.
Main causes of Osteoarthritis
The most common reason for Osteoarthritis is age. It has been found that most of the Osteoarthritis affected are aged above 55 years. Other than age, factors that can lead to OA are many.
Overweight is the first culprit. It puts stress on joints and bones, especially on knees. Next is family history. Those with Osteoarthritis patients in the family are more prone to get infected. Among Osteoarthritis patients, it is noted that men are in majority among those aged below 45 years, and women are more likely to get it than man after 50 years. After 80 years, chances are even for both men and women.
It is noted that those in professions like construction, agriculture, cleaning, and retail stand more chance for getting OA, as their bodies are used more rigorously.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis
There is no definite cure for OA. The basic goal is to manage pain and control the factors leading to worsening of the disease. Pain is controlled with a combination of medicines, exercise, and physical therapy. Change in lifestyle and diet along with low-impact exercises are other ways of handling OA.
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