Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis and is among the most common types of Arthritis, as millions of men, women, and children all over the globe are being afflicted with this degenerative disease. It is a painful, far reaching and debilitating condition that greatly affects the motor functions of joints and muscles.
Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage which is a protein substance that serves as padding or cushioning between a person’s joints that supports the bones. People afflicted with this degenerative disease experience stiffness, pain, swelling, and motor loss of the affected joint. This form of arthritis only affects the joints and typically occurs as people age – most men will start noticing the pain of arthritis at the age of 45, while women usually starts noticing the pain at about the age of 55. Osteoarthritis normally affects the spine, hands, feet and much larger weight bearing joints like the knees, hips, and buttocks.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
What causes osteoarthritis? Well, the cartilage that supports the joints has water in it and as people age this water increases. With the day-to-day use of the joints inside the body over the years, the increase of the water causes inflammation and irritation of the joints, and this will result in pain and swelling. Gradually, the cartilage will start to breakdown and degenerate and eventually become damaged over time, in some cases a complete loss of the cartilage can occur. As this happens, it will result in losing the support or cushioning of the joints, causing them to rub against one another which will then result in inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Heredity or genetics can also have a hand in osteoarthritis, as many people that have the disorder also have siblings and family members that are afflicted with this degenerative disease. Obesity is also considered a cause of osteoarthritis. The fact is obesity plays in second as a contributing factor to this degenerative disorder and this is mainly seen as osteoarthritis of the knees. Other contributing factors to this degenerative condition include Diabetes, Gout, and joint structure trauma, as well as congenital abnormally formed joints.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain after repetitive use of joints, swelling, warmth, and creaking of affected joint, stiffness and pain during inactivity and long period of sleep, pain later in the day after some physical activity, and chronic Joint Pain during cold weather. These are just a few of the symptoms for this degenerative disease and to properly diagnose these symptoms is by undergoing X-rays on the affected area or joint.
Osteoarthritis can be treated in a lot of ways in order to reduce or remove the pain, swelling, and inflammation. In reducing the pain, medication can be taken either in the form of medicine taken orally or by applying topical cream on the affected area. Shots can also be taken directly in to the bone to minimize the inflammation and pain. Anti-inflammatory and pain reliever drugs are also effective in alleviating the pain and swelling. For worse cases, medical procedures such as surgery may be necessary, although this can be quite expensive. Proper diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are always essential in reducing the risk of osteoarthritis. Taking herbal supplements has also been proven to effectively alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan