What is Osteoarthritis?
- Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease that shows up as a degneration of cartilage in your joints. It can expose and cause wear in the bone that is underneath joints. OA typically manifests as pain and stiff joints, usually in a patient's 40's.
- OA has also been called Degnerative Joint Disease, and is the most common form of arthritis.
- There are two forms of OA:
- Idiopathic (localized):
- Secondary: caused by trauma, congenital disorders, and problems in the metabolic, endocrine, or neuropathic systems.
- Symptoms typically show up in:
- Knees - Hips
- Joints in hands - Joints in spine
Why Should You Care?
- 13.9% of Americans older than 25 have OA
- In patients older than 65, this percentage goes up to 33.6%
- OA accounts for ~ 6% of all arthritis-related deaths, though this may be underestimated
- It also is an underlying factor for 55% of arthritis-related hospitalizations
- Americans spend $7.9 billion on knee and hip replacements every year
- Patients with OA typically spend $5700 per year (as of 2000)
- Job-related OA costs range from $3.4-13.2 billion per year
- The specific causes for OA are unknown
- It's thought that OA is caused by both mechanical and molecular events in each joint that's affected
|- Age||- Gender|
|- Bone deformities||- Joint injuries|
|- Obesity||- Repetitive-stress jobs|
|- Diabetes||- Underactive thyroid|
|- Gout||- Paget's diseas|
- OA is characterized by a focal and progressive loss of the hyaline cartilage in joints and in changes in the underlying bone of joints.
- When diagnosing, doctors typically have two methods through which they identify OA:
- Pathology: x-ray changes (joint space narrowing, osteophytes, and bony sclerosis)
- Symptoms: Pain, swelling, and stiffness
- There's no cure for osteoarthritis, but it can be managed
|- Weight loss||- Medications to manage inflammation|
|- Patient education||- Support groups|
|- Surgical joint replacement||- Surgical bone realignment|
|- Fusion of bones|
- While there are no support groups in the Kenosha or Gurnee areas, the Center for Disease Control has some really in-depth support material. In addition, the Arthritis Foundation has several online support groups as well as information regarding coping with arthritis