If you or your loved ones suffer from joint pain due to osteoarthritis, you are not alone. More than 30 million people in the United States suffer from osteoarthritis, making it the leading cause of chronic disability in older adults. It is the most common form of arthritis affecting joints. It is also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It affects all components of joints like cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and muscles. It makes joint cartilages soft and pitted, leading to loss of cartilage from both ends of bones. Joint lining can be sensitive, leading to inflammation and thickening. Muscular tension is lost to hold the joint in place, and nerves are over-sensitized. As a result, restricted movement or complete immobility because of the pain occur. The most frequently affected joint by osteoarthritis is the knee joint, the hip joint, and other joints of the hand and spine.
Some common types of osteoarthritis are:
Osteoarthritis was previously thought to result from an imbalance between mechanical forces and joint strength, leading to excessive wear and tear of the joints. However, new research studies yield increasing evidence that points to the contributions of inflammation in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis. Some inflammatory chemicals called cytokines and metalloproteinases have been found in the joints that are responsible for inflammation and excessive matrix degeneration, which is the pathognomic of osteoarthritis.
The most important causative factor in developing osteoarthritis is the daily stresses on the joints, especially the weight-bearing joints (e.g., ankle, knee, and hip). Excessive weight and pressure of the normal joint or normal stress on a previously disturbed joint can lead to degenerative alterations and inflammation in the joints, causing osteoarthritis. Some of the risk factors like obesity, diabetes, poor posture may accelerate the process of degeneration.
Osteoarthritis affects about 237 million people globally, around 3.3% of the world's population, making it the most common form of arthritis. 30 to 53 million people are affected by osteoarthritis in the United States. It is a common disorder in older people, affecting around 80-90% of people older than 65 years. The frequency of the disease increases with increasing age.
It is found more in women. Women are notably susceptible to knee joint arthritis and distal small joints of hands. Osteoarthritis is found more in Native Americans.
Some common risk factors include:
Some common symptoms include:
These symptoms of osteoarthritis can affect the everyday life of an individual, causing fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and tiredness. Mobility can be maintained without aggravating the damage to joints if early treatment is taken.
Red flags: You must consult a doctor if you develop the following:
There is no particular blood test to diagnose osteoarthritis, but some blood tests will help to rule out other diseases closely related to osteoarthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis. And detailed close physical examination can help point out the diagnosis of joint pain.
A lot many disorders can look like arthritis, for example:
The signs and symptoms associated with arthritis can be managed with medications, and the deteriorated lifestyle due to the disease could be improved. The management includes:
4. Topical agents include ibuprofen gel, capsaicin cream, diclofenac spray, or gel.
5. Complementary Medicine
Alternative medicine includes:
The outcome is related to the joints involved and the presence or absence of risk factors. The presence of older age, obesity, and previous deformity results in more severe disease. Untreated disease can lead to complications like:
Some people suffer from other consequences like poor sleep due to pain, anxiety, and depression.
Joint replacement procedures have been successful in patients with multiple joint involvements. But the joint prosthesis needs a proper follow-up and may require revision after 10-15 years, depending on the patient’s activity.
Adopting some habits may improve life with osteoarthritis.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 25, 2023.
Osteoarthritis - OrthoInfo - AAOS
Osteoarthritis in 2020 and beyond: a Lancet Commission - The Lancet