What Is Osteoarthritis?

What Is OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis, otherwise known as “degenerative joint disease”, is one of the most common forms of arthritis with more than 20 million American sufferers to date.

While most people that suffer from the most severe forms of Osteoarthritis are age 60 or higher, this particular disease begins it’s disabling affects before then. As stated earlier, it is a “degenerative” disease, therefore it’s effects to our bodies happen over a span of a lifetime. However, some people as young as 25 can experience the same pain as someone 65 in age.

The word “Osteoarthritis” is derived from two words standing for joint and inflammation. So it’s easy to see how this disease operates within the human body. If not, let’s delve a little deeper and expand upon the definition.

At each point where are bodies have the ability to bend, or the joints, our bones come together divided by small areas that are made up of cartilage. The cartilage acts as a connection point between our bones providing us with a wider range of motion that would not be possible without it. We could not walk, bend, sit, or twist. We would be pretty much motionless without the ever important cartilage.

As we age, our cartilage becomes weakened since it is in a state of perpetual use day after day. And, the weaker it becomes, the more prone our “meeting place” bones are to begin rubbing as we bend our arms or legs causing more and more pain.

The break down, or “wear-and-tear”, of our cartilage can cause the joint area to change its original shape. When this happens, tiny deposits of bone can form throughout the edges of the joint. These are medically classified as “osteophytes”, but you may know them better as “bone spurs”.

In addition, small bits of cartilage or bone can break off inside the joints that float about often times causing even more damage, and of course more pain.

Wherever we can pivot our bodies, we can develop Osteoarthritis. Hands, knees, hips, and the spine are the most common places this disease occurs.

Osteoarthritis only affects the joint areas making it painful when performing many simply, daily tasks such as standing, sitting, shaking hands, or walking. Other forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid(the second most common form of arthritis) or lupus affect areas such as the skin, lungs, eyes, liver, or blood vessels.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease. Meaning, it develops without any specific reason and continues for lengthy time periods spanning years, even a lifetime. There is no known cure for Osteoarthritis, but there are treatment plans that can lessen the severity of its symptoms for sufferers.

And, because Osteoarthritis has been termed “chronic”, the treatment plans may change over the course of time. Some of the available treatments will be outlined further on so you know what can be done to help deal with the every day pain.

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