Osteoarthritis, the stiff, painful form of arthritis, affects millions of people world wide. It occurs when the naturally protecting cartilage that cushions your ends of bones wears down over time, resulting in pain. While osteoarthritis will affect any joint, the disease most often affects joints in the hands, shoulders, knees and back. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, you need to learn as much about the disease as possible to learn how to help treat it and avoid long term complications.
Although there are many theories surrounding the causes of osteoarthritis, it has been found that there is a genetic link to the disease. Those whose parents or grandparents developed osteoarthritis are likely to develop it as well. A recent study showed that those whose mothers had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis were five times more likely to develop the condition themselves. The condition is more prevalent among women than men.
Osteoarthritis, regardless of age
Osteoarthritis often affects the elderly, but it does not choose its victim. Anyone can develop osteoarthritis, regardless of age. Osteoarthritis usually develops gradually and will progress as the patient ages. It usually progresses as the cartilage surrounding the bone suffers wear and tear.
When osteoarthritis progresses from mild to moderate cases, the patient may experience increasing levels of pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints. The symptoms can become severe if they are left untreated. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, it is important to see your doctor regularly to make sure the condition is under control. As the condition worsens you may also experience a loss of joint mobility and function. You should visit your Physiotherapist on a regular basis for regular checkups and treatment to keep your joints flexible and healthy.
Ways to treat osteoarthritis successfully
The good news is there are a number of ways to treat osteoarthritis successfully. Your doctor might prescribe medication, suggest the use of therapeutic devices such as electric shockers, provide advice on how to modify your daily routine to aid in reducing pain or suggest the use of hot and cold packs to assist with inflammation. Some people find that taking a walk stimulates joint movement and improves circulation. Others find that using a chair massage or hot and cold packs helps reduce stiffness and improve joint mobility.
Wear and tear on your joints
You can prevent further wear and tear on your joints by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and exercising regularly. A good exercise routine, performed regularly, can strengthen your bones and improve blood flow throughout your body. This helps maintain flexibility and overall fitness, which will decrease the risk of osteoarthritis developing in the future. It can also help you maintain an active lifestyle, which is important in maintaining the health of your joints.
Exercise and weight reduction
Exercise and weight reduction go hand in hand with helping prevent osteoarthritis. If you are overweight, you should try to lose weight as this is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis. To help improve your joint health and to strengthen your bones you should also engage in regular aerobic exercise. This can help to keep your joints from becoming stiff and stressed.
Osteoarthritis affects almost 80% of Americans over the age of thirty. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include swelling, stiffness, mild to severe pain and disability caused by loss of function. Some of the more common symptoms are: Limping, inability to stand, difficulty walking, hip joint shown in swollen or inflamed state, decreased joint movement, loss of weight and bone spurs forming in the joint. The majority of sufferers are unable to work and have to cancel plans because of their debilitating symptoms of osteoarthritis. Anyone who has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis should consult with their doctor on how to combat the symptoms and regain proper function of their joints.