Osteoarthritis is the result of long wear and tear on the joints over a lifetime of activity.  It does, however, represent an illness, as some people get worse osteoarthritis in their later years, than others who underwent the same amount of stress on their joints do not.  The reason for this disparity is unknown.  This does not stop osteoarthritis from being extremely common, in fact the most common ailment of the joints.  It occurs when the cartilage that exists between the joints is worn down with age, though there are several factors that can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis other than age.  

One of the factors that tends to influence the development of osteoarthritis is genetics.  If several members of a person's family have osteoarthritis, they are more likely to develop it as well.  Obesity is another risk factor for the development of symptoms of osteoarthritis.  More exotic ailments can also contribute to a person developing osteoarthritis symptoms.  One of these is hemophilia, which can cause blood to collect in the joints.  Other types of arthritis can also cause enough damage to the joints to cause osteoarthritis later in life.  There are, in fact, a number of different types of arthritis, one of which is rheumatoid arthritis.  Other forms of arthritis include such well known illnesses as gout and pseudogout.  The symptoms that are caused by osteoarthritis are a direct result of the bones of the joint rubbing against each other without the comfort of cartilage to cushion them.  Osteoarthritis symptoms may include inflammation of the joint, together with pain and stiffness.   After a time, a person may develop additional bone around the joint, or spurs, which can be painful.  These are more likely to occur in extreme osteoarthritis, together with the normal bone becoming worn.

Unfortunately, it's natural for osteoarthritis to get worse with time, as one of the factors for its development is aging.  While it doesn't have a cure, and is almost certain to progress once it becomes an issue, treatments exist for the various symptoms of osteoarthritis.  The first variety of symptom control is usually the dampening of the pain caused by osteoarthritis.  Acetaminophen and NSAID pain relievers are often useful in this situation, though they should be taken carefully in order to avoid the side effects of long term use.  Swelling can be dealt with through corticosteroid injections, and the joint can be cushioned artificially through prescription liquid injections.

Featured Articles

Information, Not Advice

Health Risk Checker provides information only. The content of this site cannot take the place of what you can learn from a healthcare professional. Never ignore professional medical advice, and please call 911 if you are having a medical emergency.
See Additional Information