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Osteoarthritis: An Overview

By HERWriter
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The most common form of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis. ʺMore than 27 million people are affected by osteoarthritis,ʺ states Arthritis Today Magazine.

Osteoarthritis is also known as OA, degenerative arthritis and degenerative joint disease. OA is a chronic condition.

OA is due to the deterioration of the joint’s cartilage. Over your lifetime, your cartilage diminishes due to regular wear and tear and movement of your joints. As your bones rub together this may causes several symptoms.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, OA symptoms may include:

• Stiffness
• Loss of movement in the joint
• Pain in the joint

Contact your doctor, if your joint pain is severe and prevents you from doing your day-to-day activities.

The Arthritis Foundation’s website states, ʺChanges in the cartilage and bones of the joint can lead to pain, stiffness and use limitations.ʺ The website also states deterioration of cartilage may cause the following:

• Bony spurs, called osteophytes, can develop near the ends of bones
• Joint fluid may not have enough hyaluronan, which affects the joint’s ability to absorb shock.
• Fragments of bone and cartilage can float in joint fluid causing irritation and pain
• The shape and makeup of the joint may not function smoothly, causing you to limp when you walk or have trouble going up and down stairs.

The exact cause of OA is unknown. However, there are some mitigating factors which may cause OA. All of these factors or just one of these factors may cause OA. The U.S. National Library of Medicine and Arthritis Foundation, states factors may include:

• Age
• Overweight
• Genetics or family members with OA
• Injury
• Past bone fractures
• Over-use or repetitive use of limb

In order for OA to be diagnosed, your doctor will ask for a full family history and conduct a physical exam. Your doctor will examine your areas of discomfort and look for physical signs or symptoms of OA.

According to Arthritis Today Magazine, your doctor may conduct the following tests to diagnose OA:

• X-ray
• Joint aspiration

There is no cure for OA. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine there are several treatments which will improve and manage your symptoms.

Treatments for OA may include:

• Over-the-counter medication
• Prescription medication
• Alternative or holistic treatments
• Lifestyle changes
• Surgery
• Physical Therapy
• Braces

See EmpowHER.com’s September 27, 2011 story titled ʺOsteoarthritis Treatmentsʺ for a full description of treatments for OA.


Osteoarthritis - PubMed Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved September 25, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001460/

Arthritis Disease Center l Disease Definitions l Arthritis Disease and Related Conditions. Arthritis Foundation | Symptoms Treatments | Prevention Tips | Pain Relief Advice. Retrieved September 25, 2011, from http://www.arthritis.org/disease-center.php?disease_id=32

Part, B. Osteoarthritis (OA) | Treatment, News, Research on Osteoarthritis. Arthritis | Arthritis Today Magazine | Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved September 25, 2011, from

Reviewed September 26, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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