Osteoarthritis is part of the so-called ‘rheumatic diseases’; These are numerous and varied but have in common the fact that affect any part of the locomotor system. However, they can be very different in their causes, evolution and treatment.
Osteoarthritis is the most common of all rheumatic diseases. It is characterized by a progressive loss of cartilage of the joints due to wear. This is mainly caused by age, although other factors can also play a role.
This disease is quite common in people over the age of 50. Indeed, according to the data of the World Health Organizationit suffers approximately 28% of the elderly 60 years. It is estimated that by 2020 this disease will be the fourth leading cause of disability in the world. Let’s find out everything together.
Causes of osteoarthritis
He National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases explains that osteoarthritis, also known as “osteoarthritis,” occurs. when the cartilage in a joint wears down and degenerates. This cartilage loses its elasticity and consistency.
Gradually it loses its thickness until it practically disappears. When this happens, the ends of the bones are left unprotected and rub against each other.
The affected bones react to this effect. Its response is to become denser, and then cysts appear within that bone. Also, spikes of bone form on the edge of the joint which deforms them.
Several studies have highlighted some factors that could precipitate the onset of osteoarthritis. Next, we mention those exposed in the website of Arthritis Foundation:
- Age: up to the age of 50 it is more common in men and, after this age, in women.
- Inheritance: Osteoarthritis can appear as a result of an inherited defect in the genes responsible for collagen, one of the components of cartilage.
- Excess of physical activity.
- Obesity: would increase the risk of osteoarthritis in the knees.
- Fractures and injuries.
- Muscle weakness: those with weak quads are more likely to develop this knee disease.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that causes severe pain, but With the right treatment, it can be controlled.. On the other hand, it must be emphasized that this condition does not necessarily cause disability or invalidity in the sufferer.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a disease that develops slowly. For this reason, symptoms may initially go unnoticed and become more intense over time. In general, there are five signs that suggest osteoarthritis:
- Articolar pains: is the main symptom. You feel severe pain in your joints, usually in your knees, hands, or hips.
- Rigidity: the person feels inflexible, especially when getting out of bed or after sitting for a long time.
- Swelling and numbness: Inflammation can be seen with the naked eye in one or more joints which can lead to numbness.
- Crunches: the patient experiences a “rubbing” or popping sensation when performing a movement involving the affected joint.
- Inconvenience on knees, feet, hands and hips.
While pain is the main symptom of osteoarthritisThere are also cases where this doesn’t happen. Likewise, in this disease, periods of pain alternate with others in which it does not manifest itself.
Types of osteoarthritis and diagnosis
The data of United States National Library of Medicine point out that osteoarthritis It mainly manifests itself in four areas of the body: knees, hands, hips and spine.
- knee osteoarthritis it is the most frequent and can be primary or secondary. The first corresponds to the typical form of the disease, while the secondary is due to a lesion.
- Osteoarthritis of the hands it almost always originates from a joint and then extends to others. Tends to cause warping and functionality may be impaired.
- Hip osteoarthritis causes pain that is located in the inner thigh, groin area, or outside of the hip.
- Spinal osteoarthritis usually occurs in the lower back or neck, although numbness can also be felt in the extremities.
Generally, the diagnosis is made after a clinical interview. This is typically supplemented by X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans. Likewise, a high-resolution ultrasound may be indicated to evaluate the level of evolution of the osteoarthritis.
The disease as such is not considered serious, but could significantly affect the patient’s quality of life. However, the prognosis depends on each particular case. Basically, it comes from the compromised joint and the rate of evolution of the problem.
Early diagnosis and preventive measures can promote a good prognosis. With proper treatment, osteoarthritis progresses more slowly and with less severity.
Treatment is almost always pharmacological or physiotherapy aimed at achieving a healthier lifestyle. In some cases, normal measures fail and eventually the need for surgery appears. Usually, with surgery, symptoms improve and mobility is preserved.
If you experience joint pain or numbness, it is necessary to consult with the doctor. Only the specialist can make an accurate diagnosis and indicate the best treatment based on the patient’s condition.
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