With more than 20 million victims and a number of suspects impossible to approximate, osteoarthritis(OA) claims its place among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. adult population. Osteoarthritis symptoms include loss of mobility, muscular spasms, and joint pain. However, these characteristics are common for most types of arthritis, making it hard to tell the exact symptoms of osteoarthritis.
OA is what specialists call a degenerative condition. It occurs mostly in people aged 40 and above and it is caused by normal wear of the joints. However, it can also be the result of trauma to a joint or the consequence of hormone disorders (diabetes, gout, etc.). The condition mostly affects women, given the fact that their bone structure is more fragile than that of men.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Some distinctive signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis are: weather-sensitive joints – the joints become more painful in humid weather-, thigh pain, crepitus – a grinding noise that appears with movement- and bone deformations.
A number of osteoarthritis symptoms are also commonly experienced by patients suffering from other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Despite the feelings of stiffness, painful joints and swelling, osteoarthritis does not present with systemic characteristics. The symptoms of osteoarthritis do not affect any of the internal organs, but it attacks the joints directly. As in rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation of the joints is what causes trouble, in osteoarthritis the loss of joint cartilage is where all the problems begin. The existence of this cartilage is what helps the bones move and prevents them from rubbing directly against each other. When it wears away, the bones come into direct contact, making a movement, if not completely impossible, but at least very painful and uncomfortable.
One of the most frightening osteoarthritis symptoms is the appearance of bony nodes on the bone ends of the fingers. These deformations are a consequence of the direct contact between the bones once the joint cartilage breaks down. This aspect of OA can have a deep emotional impact on the affected person, as the fingers become enlarged and ache or feel stiff. Fortunately, available medications and heat treatment are known to be very efficient against the combination of these well-known symptoms of osteoarthritis.
People who experience osteoarthritis in their knees, also experience another symptom known by specialists as crepitus. When the joint cartilage in the knee is affected, movement becomes painful and it is accompanied by a grinding noise. Its presence can be very upsetting, but it fades away when the knee is treated with medication, walking aids or, if recommended by doctors, knee replacement surgery.
Patients Suffering from Osteoarthritis Symptoms, a Positive, Supportive Environment is Important
Living with osteoarthritis can be a real burden for its victims, especially for seniors. The feeling of becoming old and unable to move can have a deep emotional impact on elders. This is why maintaining a positive, supportive attitude is vital for the entire family. Regular visits to an arthritis specialist or physician, physical therapy and arthritis medication can turn living with osteoarthritis from a dull nightmarish existence to a truly enjoyable, active experience. Don’t let the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis bring you or your loved ones down!