June 5, 2018 Source: Internal - Gleb Danylov - Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the cartilage of the hands, feet, spine and large weight-bearing joints such as hips and knees. It is the most frequent type of arthritis affecting millions of people yearly. Cartilage covers the end of bones coming together to from joints. This allows the bones to smoothly glide over each other instead of rubbing against each other. However, over time the cartilage starts to wear down and the flexibility it used to provide greatly decreases. Osteoarthritis is more common in elderly and is related to aging as the cartilage between your bones wears down over time.

Osteoarthritis is more common among in people over the age of 50, but especially so in women that have gone through menopause. Furthermore, females are found to have more severe osteoarthritis involving a larger number of joints than males. Scientists have discovered that the decrease in estrogen, directly increases the risks of developing osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that women who take estrogen supplements had fewer bone abnormalities and less symptoms of osteoarthritis after menopause.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis are often associated with pain around the joint affected. Moreover, loss of flexibility and a grating sensation in the joints may be experienced by people affected by osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and the symptoms tend to get worse over time, making daily tasks difficult. In some cases, people are no longer able to walk and experience severe joint pain.

Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed by a physical exam preformed by your doctor who will look for tenderness, inflammation and test for range of motion of the affected joint. The doctor may also recommend to have an X-ray or MRI done of the joint to confirm any suspicions or anomalies in your results.

There is no current cure for osteoarthritis, but physical activity and trying to achieve a healthy weight have been found to decrease the rate of progression of the symptoms. Furthermore, pain medication and anti inflammatory drugs are prescribed for people with chronic osteoarthritis. In severe cases, surgery is often considered. Procedures such as cortisone and lubrication injections can help alleviate some of the pain and reduce inflammation around the affected joint. Additionally, your doctor may perform a joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty) by replacing your worn down joints with plastic and metal parts.