Osteoarthritis is nothing, but the common form of arthritis and it is termed as a progressive breakdown of cartilage that provides cushion to the joints. It involves the whole joint, inclusive of the underlying bone, ligaments, joint lining and cartilage. Apart from bringing down the mobility of joints, this condition also causes stiffness and pain that can bring about a negative impact on the ability of the patient to engage in his/her day-to-day activities as well.
Even though, this condition can occur in individuals regardless of their age group, the incidence increases with age, particularly for elders in the age group of 65 and above. Reports state that this condition is the leading cause of disability among elderly people. Even though, this condition can occur in any joints, it is known to be commonly affecting the joints in fingers, lower back, big toes, neck, knees, hips and thumbs. The other areas that can be affected include ankles and elbows. The extent of this condition and the joints that get affected vary from one patient to another. Some patients need help even in their day-to-day tasks like rising from the chair, grasping and lifting objects, walking and climbing stairs.
Generally, this condition arises slowly and develops over the period of time. Particularly, if it is not treated, it can worsen. Risk factors can be brought under different categories like environmental factors, metabolic factors and genetic factors. The following are the common risk factors associated with this condition:
• Putting joints to excess use
• Increase in age
• Gender as women is more prone to this condition after 55 years as against men.
• Injury to joints
• Certain sports and activities that cause repetitive strain on joints
• Improper formation of joints and
• Other medical conditions like gout and diabetes
Living with this condition:
Many elders feel that after getting this issue, they cannot lead a normal life as they will have to rely on others for every activity they involve in. But, the fact is that patients with this condition can lead a normal life, if the condition is detected early and treated appropriately. Here are certain things the patients can follow to lead a normal life:
• Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress caused due to excess weight to the joints
• Engaging in regular exercises to enhance strength and joint flexibility.
• Eating a healthy and balanced diet.
• Getting enough relaxation and rest
• Developing some methods to manage and reduce emotional stress caused due to this issue
• Using heat pads for bringing down pain and stiffness
• Getting help when needed
• To minimize the incidence of pain some activity modifications can be done
• Using cold pads for relieving pain and muscle spasms
• Safeguarding the joints from any form of injury
To conclude, living with this condition is not at all an issue, when a patient follows the above-mentioned tips.