What Is Osteoarthritis? Stages, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment
People can have different kinds of problems in life related to a medical condition. It can be in any part of the body with a particular stage. Some people suffer from an initial stage of disease and get well with relevant treatment. While you must have been aware of conditions that are supposed to be serious and the patient has to suffer from a longer treatment and recovery period. Apart from these, some medical affairs are there in which no absolute cure is available. Out of them, we will talk about a joint-related condition named ‘osteoarthritis‘ by which millions of people are suffering till date. The team of Mewar Hospitals will mention several points regarding this problem. So, let’s begin by taking some quick information about arthritis first.
One of the biggest orthopedic complaints in present date is arthritis which stands as a joint inflammation disease. This disorder, apart from inflammation, leads to pain that can be severe. More than 100 forms have been detected of arthritis in which osteoarthritis is among the major ones. This is not only about a particular gender or age, anybody can suffer from arthritis. Men, women, older people, and even children can find serious problems with their joints.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Now, bringing your attention to the main topic, i.e., osteoarthritis, is a threat to our cartilage’s health. Cartilage is a tissue that safeguards our joints by absorbing the shock of the body. It cushions the ends of our bones in normal joints. Even if the cartilage is a strong and flexible tissue, it can wear down over time. Short-termed as OA, osteoarthritis is regarded as one of the main reasons behind disability, especially in older people. You can also remember it as a degenerative joint illness or ‘wear or tear’ of the joints. As you have already read about arthritis that it can occur in any age and gender. But, particularly talking about osteoarthritis, its impact is most often seen in older people.
However, it can create an impact on any joint of the body, it is common in:
Causes Behind This Problem
The formation of OA takes place when the cartilage deteriorates. If there is damage to the cartilage in such a way that it wears down completely, the bone will rub the other bone and thus, problems will arise. But, apart from cartilage breakdown, osteoarthritis can lead to other disturbances as well. For example, the joint lining can turn out to be inflamed. Additionally, there can be an impact on the functioning of the bone. Although age is regarded as one of the causes of osteoarthritis, that doesn’t mean every older person will suffer from it. Additionally, if someone is suffering, it isn’t necessary that they will develop associated pain.
However joint damage is considered one of the major causes of osteoarthritis, some other conditions also account for the same. For example, if someone has an injury related to the ligament, cartilage, or dislocated joints. Even there can be an impact on joint health due to poor stance, surplus body weight, and joint deformity.
Other Risk Factors
Certain factors can enhance the possibility of osteoarthritis. Let’s have a look at some of those.
- Obesity – You can invite several problems in life due to obesity and osteoarthritis is one of them. When a person holds extra body weight, there will be stress on the weight-bearing joints. That’s why it is always recommended to maintain an ideal weight to keep away from several problems including OA.
- Family History – The problem of osteoarthritis can run in families. If your family members are suffering or have suffered from this condition, you need to be cautious. Additionally, it has been said that heredity also plays a role in developing osteoarthritis.
- Certain Health Conditions – Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and hyperlipidemia can also increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Apart from that, if a person is suffering from a medical condition that affects joint health, outcomes of developing OA can exist.
- Gender – As compared to men, women are more likely to suffer from this situation, especially those who have undergone menopause. The age is supposed to be around 50 or 55 years.
- Injury – An injury can take place in different joints of the body. Sometimes, this affair can become one of the causes of osteoarthritis to develop. Athletes having a shoulder injury, knee or spine-related injury may have a likelihood of developing OA in the affected joint.
- Others – Bone deformities, joint overuse, fractures, or some kinds of jobs can also elevate the possibility of OA.
Symptoms That Indicate Osteoarthritis
A person can face several noticeable symptoms of osteoarthritis that may take their place slowly but turn out to be worse over time. Some of the major symptoms are as follows:
- Pain – At the time of performing some kind of movement, the affected joint can give rise to pain.
- Swelling – One of the imperative reasons behind swelling can be inflammation of soft tissues around the joint.
- Stiffness – The problem of stiffness can arrive after waking up from sleep or when a person is inactive.
- Tenderness – There can be a feeling of tenderness or uneasiness at the time of pressing the affected part with the fingers.
- Bone spurs – They are known to be extra lumps of bone that don’t often cause pain.
- Flexibility and movement problems – Loss of flexibility along with a decreased range of motion are also counted as symptoms of osteoarthritis.
There are a total of five stages to see in osteoarthritis. It begins with stage 0 and the concluding stage is stage 4. Let’s know something about them in short.
1. Stage 0
You can recognize this stage as pre-osteoarthritis. No signs of joint damage are observed in this stage. In some cases, a bit or no pain is experienced on the affected side.
2. Stage 1
This is an early stage of OA in which the cartilage can leave between the joints. In this stage, a person can have an occurrence of bone spurs at the end of the joint. Some people can experience mild pain in this stage.
3. Stage 2
Talking about stage 2, it is the time when a person endures mild pain. The bone spurs can grow and cartilage begins to face damage by the enzymes. If OA is diagnosed in this stage, the doctor has a chance to manage it and stop its development.
4. Stage 3
This is a moderate stage when the cartilage initiate to show the signal of wear. Here, the bone spurs can multiply and their size can enlarge. People can have a feeling of pain at the time of using their joints. There can be a presence of inflammation in the joints.
5. Stage 4
This is a severe state of osteoarthritis. Here, a person suffers from intense pain. The level of damage becomes higher and in many cases, the cartilage is entirely gone. This is the stage where a person feels a desperate need of visiting the doctor to get rid of joint discomfort.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis
If you’re feeling the symptoms of osteoarthritis mentioned above, it will be a smart decision to visit the doctor without delay. Regarding the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, it is based on a physical exam, the site, kind of pain, symptoms, and the report of X-rays. In some cases, an MRI scan or blood tests may also be performed to determine the presence of other types of arthritis.
Methods To Manage This Condition
Regarding the treatment of osteoarthritis, the damage that has been done to the joints can’t be reversed. Still, with the help of the doctor’s recommendation, a person can get control over the symptoms. One of the main objectives behind the treatment is to deliver ease in pain and improve function. Although a complete cure isn’t available for OA, doctors can suggest some measures to slow down its progression.
Osteoarthritis Treatment Options
Firstly talking about managing mild to moderate symptoms, several medical treatments are available. This includes medications, specifically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Else, the doctor recommends exercise depending on the location of the pain. Sometimes, home-based remedies like hot and cold packs can also turn out to be effective. Some kinds of therapies may also be guided. In addition, there is an option of some kinds of alternative medicines.
If a person is overweight or obese, the doctor can guide him to cut down excessive weight. Apart from these things, a person must eat a balanced and healthy diet. Those who have diabetes and cholesterol-based problems should make attempts to manage them. If these conventional options fail to work for the patient, the surgeon can suggest a surgical operation as the treatment of osteoarthritis. This becomes helpful to restore function and deliver relief from pain.
Living With Osteoarthritis
Some people can have a tough call while suffering from OA. They can take additional stress in such circumstances and feel depressed. There can be sleep disturbances or an experience of annoying events like pain or stiffness after getting up from the bed. But, that doesn’t mean a person loses hope. Instead, he should try to live an active and healthy lifestyle and go for activities that save him from unpleasing affairs. Take adequate sleep that will help in reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. In case of support while suffering from OA, meet the doctors and take valuable suggestions for better outcomes.
The Ending Note
The team of Mewar Hospitals is here to facilitate people suffering from osteoarthritis. Our specialized doctors from the orthopedic department can assist you with relevant suggestions and treatment options to manage this condition. Don’t overlook the discomfort of your joints especially if it is disturbing every day for a longer period. Visit our centers to meet professionals. Else, you can make an appointment by reaching us with the given helpline numbers.
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