Osteoarthritis: Cause, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the 100+ types of arthritis. In fact, it’s the most common form there is. Approximately 32.5 million Americans are suffering from this type of arthritis. This type can be a primary condition, which means it’s the first diagnosed or the most prevalent disorder. However, osteoarthritis is common for it to be a complication of a previously diagnosed condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout. All these factors make it incredibly important to know as much as possible about this condition. Think about: how to recognize this form of arthritis, whether I have an increased chance of getting it, and whether there are any treatment options.

What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis happens when the protective cartilage wears down over time. Cartilage is vital for your bones, as it cushions the ends of the bones. Once this wears down, the ends of the bones start rubbing against each other, which damages the bones and can cause a lot of pain. This type of arthritis can affect any joint, but the joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine are the most common. This condition is also often called ‘wear and tear disease’ or degenerative joint disease (DJD). They used to think OA only affects the cartilage in the joint, but it affects the entire joint.

Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis
As we get older, our body gets older as well. This means we’re getting more ailments. Osteoarthritis is one of those ailments. About 80% of people aged 55 and older have some form of osteoarthritis. This can be a very mild form with little to no symptoms, or it can be a more severe form and experience symptoms. Age is the biggest risk factor, but there are more factors that increase someone’s chances of getting osteoarthritis – earlier in life:

  • Gender, women are more likely to get OA
  • Obesity
  • Joint injuries or trauma
  • Frequent stress in the joint, like playing sports or having a labor-intensive occupation
  • Heredity
  • Bone deformities
  • Metabolic diseases, like diabetes & hemochromatosis
  • Decrease in estrogen

Continue reading on the next page and discover, among others, how you can recognize, and osteoarthritis and what you should do next.