Osteoarthritis is the most commonly heard type, among all other types of arthritis. Experts term it as joint disease due to excessive wear and tear of our joints. In this condition, the rubbery & the firm tissues that normally cushion our bones at the joints or allow our bones to glide over one another i.e. the ‘cartilage’ get affected. Usually the cartilage absorbs its required energy from the movements. But when the problem of Osteoarthritis surfaces, the important cartilage breaks down and eventually wears away. In this rustic condition, the bones rub together, that causes stiffness, swelling and ultimately pain. Obviously the range of motions of our joints also gets affected. The areas get affected are spine, hips, knees and hands.
The problem is equally found in both sexes. As the age gets older, the symptoms become rapid, mostly during 50s and 60s. To talk about the number of OA patient in USA, it is more than 20 million.
Symptoms or signs:-
Morning stiffness, joint pain, stiffness due to continued sitting or lying over 15 minutes, Joint pain, joint swelling, limited range of motion, joints remaining warm, muscle weakness, bony knobs growth near the joints i.e. Heberden’s nodes are to name.
Causes: - The causes are not conclusively known; but it is attached with aging. Experts say that mechanical, chemical, genetic and metabolic factors play considerable roles in this OA. There are many proofs of OA running through the family. Some times overweight can also be the reason for this. Age being the main cause, is undoubtedly the major factor. A few patients carry the history of inflammation of joint & associated pain. A few of the patients may be the victims since their birth disorder in their joints and bones. Some of the patients suffer from hormonal or metabolic disorders. A few of the patients are those whose uric acid crystals deposits in their joints cause the problem. Many of the patients are the victims of excessive and stressful joint uses, the examples here are the construction workers and athletes.
What may be the preventive cares:-
- Never make any act or action that can further injure your affected joint or their locations
- Try to avoid repetitive motions
- Exercising will be the best for you
- Reduce your extra weight and try to be within the allowable body weight
- Walking is always good for every one, so is with the OA patients.
- In case walking is too difficult for you, a warm water exercise will be the alternative. In this situation, water supports your joints in the accompaniment of warmth.
- A gentle range of motion exercises can definitely increase your flexibility, while it will reduce your joint pains.
What will be your medications?-
Many types of medications are there, but among the most prominent: -
1) Anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal drugs that can relieve you from your pain, swelling and inflammations. Although it is a good reliever of all these three troubles, but its long term use can cause stomach problems, in the form of ulcers and bleeding. A few patients complain about heart problems. This is the reason, FDA in USA asked drug manufacturers to include the warning label on the NSAID products.
2) Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for reducing only pain, not inflammation. This also has the side effects like liver damage for the alcoholic patients.