Disease Management

Step into Osteoarthritis Prevention

Dr. Husam Rezeq/ Public Health Specialist
30 November, 2015

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Osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes an effusion. A variety of causes—hereditary, developmental, metabolic, and mechanical deficits—may initiate processes leading to loss of cartilage.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world.

While osteoarthritis can damage any joint in the body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in the ends of the fingers (closest to the nail), thumbs, neck, lower back, knees and hips (as illustrated).

Treatment generally involves a combination of exercise, lifestyle modification, and analgesics. If pain becomes debilitating, joint replacement surgery may be used to improve the quality of life.
Although osteoarthritis becomes more common with age, younger people can develop it, usually as the result of a joint injury, a joint malformation, or a genetic defect in joint cartilage.  Both men and women suffer with the disease.
Before age 45 more men than women have osteoarthritis. After age 45 it is more common in women. It is also more likely to occur in people who are overweight and in those with jobs that stress particular joints.

Lifestyle effects may include:

• Depression
• Anxiety
• Feelings of helplessness
• Limitations on daily activities
• Job limitations
• Difficulty participating in everyday personal and family joys and responsibilities.

Most successful treatment programs involve a combination of treatments tailored to the patient’s needs, lifestyle, and health. Most programs include ways to manage pain and improve function. These approaches are listed below.

Treatment Approaches to Osteoarthritis

• Exercise
• Weight control
• Rest and relief from stress on joints
• Nondrug pain relief techniques and alternative therapies
• Medications to control pain
• Surgery
• Complementary and Alternative Therapies

A newly published study reports that the lifetime risk of symptomatic osteoarthritis may be nearly one in two or 46%. That study also found that nearly two in three obese adults may develop knee osteoarthritis during their life.

Commonly the advice that healthcare providers give people with arthritis is to “rest their joints.” In fact, physical activity can reduce pain and improve function, mobility, mood, and quality of life for most adults with many types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus. Physical activity can also help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Most people with arthritis can safely participate in a self-directed physical activity program or join one of many programs available in communities across the country.

Osteoarthritis is a multifactorial disease with a link to muscle function. Many global researches have provided data supporting the hypothesis that exercise is beneficial for osteoarthritis.




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