Guide to Osteoarthritis
What is Osteoarthritis?
This is a form of joint disease that causes cartilage damage, the tissue found at a joint that protects and cover the bone. Cartilage is the body’s natural lubrication that allows the bones to slide against each other without any pain while also absorbing the shock that comes from motion. When people have osteoarthritis, the cartilage at the end of their joints wear away and cause the bones to painfully rub against each other. This can result in the loss of motion, swelling, change in shape of the joint and bone spurs. The small, weakened parts of the bone or joint may eventually break off, float around the area and cause even more damage and unbearable pain. An osteoarthritis knee is common but it is not the only area that can suffer from the condition.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pathology
Osteoarthritis affects more people than any other form of arthritis as it is a result of gradual deterioration of one’s joints. Despite there being no cure for the disease, a person can try various methods to reducing the damage done and help the person live a normal life as much as possible. One such method is the conscious making of healthier lifestyle choices. While this is an unfortunate condition, it is treatable. Those most susceptible to the disease are the older folk, who then face joint pain and a reduced range of motion.
Younger people are not completely off the hook from the disease but it is certainly less common in that age group. In order to fully understand the disease, one must know what can cause it; here are some factors that can lead to osteoarthritis, as one root cause is not known.
- Joint injury or stress from jobs
- Being overweight
- Improperly formed joints
- A genetic defect in the joint cartilage
^ Normal joint vs Osteoarthritis Knee vs Rheumatoid Arthritis Knee
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
It is not hard to spot the disease coming as there are clear warning signs. They include stiffness of the joints after rest periods like sleeping or sitting, swelling or tenderness in at least one joint, the sound of bones rubbing against each other or a crunching feeling. There is no one way to diagnose the disease but doctors do have their methods of identifying it. Those methods include taking a look at the patient’s medical history, taking an X-ray and conducting both physical and other tests, like a blood test.
Osteoarthritis Treatment Options?
There is no set way to treating the disease, the treatments differ from person to person. While there are different osteoarthritis treatments, each of them have the same 4 goals: to improve joint function, to help get and maintain a healthy weight, to reduce pain and to promote a healthy lifestyle. These goals can be achieved through exercise, a healthier diet, non medicinal pain relief, medicine, joint care, periods of rest, surgery or alternative therapies.
Because osteoarthritis treatment is not a “direct” method of treatment e.g. surgery, the orthopedic’s experience in handling such cases often becomes the single most important factor in managing the disease. Older folks with an osteoarthritis knee is especially difficult, since it directly impairs movement and is typically most painful. Most experienced orthopedics in Singapore can be quite costly to consult, but if they have a strong track record in osteoarthritis treatment, it is definitely worth the money. You can also try HC Ortho’s Dr Chan as he is a veteran in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but is relatively affordable.
Prevention is always better than cure and that can only come from education. Currently, 3 educational programs exist to teach people about the disease, how to care for it and how to improve their health. The topics of the programs include patient education, arthritis self-management and support groups for those who suffer from arthritis. Participants of these programs gain long-term knowledge on relevant topics like the importance of relaxing and exercising.
How can Senior Citizens Benefit from this?
Senior citizens who participate gain a separate range of benefits; a greater understanding of the disease, how to reduce the pain faced, gaining control over their symptoms and how to live independent lives. These programs also promote a good attitude towards their health, pushes them to focus on their strengths and abilities rather than their weaknesses and disabilities, breaking down activities into more manageable tasks, incorporating exercise and healthy eating into their lives, balancing exercise with adequate rest, stress management, and most importantly, giving them a support group of family, caregivers and friends.
Cause of osteoarthritis?
Current research shows that there is more than one cause of Osteoarthritis. The disease cannot be attributed to wear and tear alone, but a myriad of other causes. Researchers are looking into a variety of other aspects to see if they can determine a cause. These fields include estrogen, genes, tissue engineering, alternative therapy, vitamins and supplements, hyaluronic acid injections.
Dealing with the disease is no walk in the park. Other than feeling pain the joint with less cartilage will be hard to move and produce a stiffening sensation. Some joints deteriorate so badly that there can be a complete loss of mobility, caused by the lack of cartilage.