Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects the cartilage between the joints. Learn about what you can do to live well with your osteoarthritis.
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is a progressive disorder that is caused when the cartilage between the joints starts breaking down. It is the cartilage that acts as a cushion for the joints and helps in mobility by reducing the friction between joints. However, with osteoarthritis, the entire joint is affected including the bones, the ligaments, the cartilage, and the joint lining. Therefore, when you are suffering from this disorder, you will experience stiffness, pain, weakness, and reduced joint mobility. All these symptoms can make it very difficult to perform everyday tasks and greatly reduce your quality of life.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, around 27 million people in the United States of America suffer from osteoarthritis to some degree. Even though osteoarthritis affects people of all ages, it is more common in individuals who are 65 years or older. The areas that are most commonly affected by this disorder includes hips, knees, lower back, fingers, and big toes. The joints that are affected and the extent to which they are affected varies from person to person. Some people may experience mild issues with range of movement, while others may need assistance with routine tasks like walking, getting up, and climbing.
Dr. Douglas Dennis, an orthopedic surgeon of Sutter Medical Group, says, “The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joints. Because osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, symptoms usually develop slowly and worsen over time”. Some of the other symptoms of osteoarthritis are swelling, stiffness, creaking and warmth around the joints that are affected. Like all other medical conditions, osteoarthritis also has certain risk factors associated with it. These include your age and gender, joint injury, genetics, obesity, repetitive stress on the joints, improperly formed joints, as well as several diseases like gout and diabetes.
Osteoarthritis has no cure, however, there are numerous treatment methods that help you find relief from the pain and maintain your joint functions. Depending upon the severity of the osteoarthritis, your treatment methods may include a combination of lifestyle modifications, medications, and physical therapy. If these treatment options do not help, your doctor may ask you to check out the other options such as surgery, joint replacement, osteotomy, and joint fusion.
You can lead a normal life even when you are suffering from osteoarthritis, if you know how to manage the pain and the other symptoms. Here are some tips to help ease your symptoms of osteoarthritis in the comfort of your own home.
When you are suffering from osteoarthritis, being overweight puts more strain on your weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees, and ankles, which in turn increases your osteoarthritis pain. When you walk, these joints bear up to five times of your body weight. Losing weight can help you live well by reducing your pain of osteoarthritis. Shedding the extra weight may be easy, however, maintaining the ideal weight is difficult. Start small, make little changes every day that help you burn more calories and eat smaller servings.
Yes, it is important to lose weight when you have osteoarthritis. But not eating at all is not an answer and may even be counterproductive. There have been some studies that have found that a variety of nutrients can help reduce your arthritis symptoms. Foods that are rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids are known to provide some pain relief from osteoarthritis. However, according to the experts, focusing on healthy foods is ideal when compared to single nutrients. Eating a balanced, healthy diet ensures that you get all the essential nutrients. Your diet should include plenty of vegetables and fruits, fish, lean meats like turkey, low-fat dairy, and whole grains.
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