What is Osteoarthritis?
There are various types of ‘Arthritis’ or inflammation and stiffness of joints. However, Osteoarthritis is one of the most common that affects millions of individuals, both male and female. This degenerative joint disorder occurs when the protective cartilage, which serves as a ‘Cushion’ to the end of the bones, undergoes severe wear and tear. It is a disease that is more likely to occur as a man or woman gets old. Osteoarthritis can cause damage to any joint. Although, it most frequently affects joints in the hands, spine, hips, and knees. It is to help you understand ‘Osteoarthritis,’ which is the fourth leading cause of disability around the globe, that we present this blog article.
What Triggers Osteoarthritis in A Human Being?
Typically, the pathophysiology of Osteoarthritis begins with the collagen matrix, with the cartilage getting disorganized due to lots of wearing and tearing. At the same time, there also occurs a significant reduction in proteoglycan content. As a result, there is a breaking down of collagen fibers occurs, which triggers an increase in water content. Therefore, the loss of proteoglycans eventually outweighs the loss of collagen, which causes increased water within cartilage. It leads to inflammation and stiffness within joints, and a disorder is medically known as Osteoarthritis.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
Several signs and symptoms can provide you with a definite indication that you have Osteoarthritis. A few of them are as follows:
- Flexibility loss and reduction in range of motion
- Extra lumps of bones or bones spurs
- Joint stiffness
- Tenderness in affected areas that can cause discomfort as well when you touch it with your fingers
- Clicking or popping sounds within joints that occur during movement and that medically we know as crepitus
- Finally, a sensation of pain in the joints
What are The Causative or Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis?
Like most medical disorders, many factors contribute to the manifestation of Osteoarthritis in many people. No medical condition ever occurs due to no reason. Therefore, here is a list of a few contributory factors that lead to Osteoarthritis.
- Age: The risk of acquiring the degenerative disorder is directly proportional to your age. Hence the older you are, the more chances you have to suffer from it.
- Genes: Unfortunately, a few individuals’ genetic predispositions determine whether they get Osteoarthritis.
- Deformity in Bones: Some people sadly are born with deformed bones, which eventually leads to inflammation and stiffness of joints
- Joint stress: If you happen to be a professional athlete, then you may, daily, experience repeated stress on your joints
- Gender: It is observed that when it comes to Osteoarthritis, it is a woman is most likely to get it than a man. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove it.
- Obesity: The more you weigh, the more stress you add to your bones and weight-bearing joints. Hence, the possibility of more wear and tear in them rises, from which Osteoarthritis can arise.
How do You Treat & Diagnose Osteoarthritis?
The ideal way to treat Osteoarthritis is through the use of symptom management. Besides, lifestyle changes and the use of medications can also help in managing this degenerative joint disease. Here is the presenting list of a few possible treatment options:
- Weight Management: Will involve reducing some weight to avoid applying stress on bones and joints in particular
- Normal sleep: Sleep well can also help by lowering inflammation and swelling in your muscles and joints to keep Osteoarthritis completely at bay.
- Regular Exercising: Exercising daily for at least twenty to thirty minutes helps strengthen your muscles, bones, and joints. Besides, you can use Yoga and Tai Chi to improve flexibility and eliminate stress from your joints to prevent Osteoarthritis.
- Heat and Cold therapy: Using hot or cold compresses over joints for fifteen to twenty minutes can help provide relief from joint pain or stiffness
- Medicines: Drugs such as oral pain relievers, topical pain relievers, corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory or NSAIDs, etc. when use can help in the effective management of Osteoarthritis
In terms of diagnosis, your doctor will physically examine you. He will check to see whether or not the affected joint consists of redness, swelling, and tenderness and also has flexibility. As for tests to confirm the presence of Osteoarthritis, your physician may recommend a couple of them. They include:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI