Living with Osteoarthritis

Living with OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis is a very unforgiving degenerative disease that can affect anyone anytime. The disease is not a curable disease, and often leaves many people prisoner to a deteriorating body.  In addition to the physical effects of the body, the emotional toll that plagues a person can paralyze them as well.  Osteoarthritis defined is a group of abnormalities involving degradation of the joints.  Osteoarthritis is a joint inflammation that results from cartilage degeneration.  There are a variety of symptoms that come with the disease including joint pain, stiffness, tenderness, locking and inability to be mobile. These symptoms worsen as the disease progresses and have resulting in mobility limitations, dependency on pain pills or people to care for the person and an overall incapability to function.

Osteoarthritis is the leading chronic disability in the United States affecting over 27 million people nationwide.  Before age 45 the disease more commonly occurs in men and after age 55 it is seen more commonly in women.   It is the most common form of arthritis, and the most degenerative.  The symptoms mirror symptoms of other potential illnesses or diseases and all the symptoms result in pain.  Pain is a broad work and is usually defined as a sharp ache or burning sensation.  The pain will increase over time, and as the disease progresses.  People with osteoarthritis can often experience crackling noises when the joints are moved, or even touched.  Many sufferers experience muscle spasms and contractions of the tendons.  The joints can fill with fluid, compounding the pain and the pain and swelling will worsen in cold weather.

In joints such as the fingers it is common that hard bony enlargements may form.  These formations are not always painful but can infringe on movement and ability, and are also unattractive for women.

Many people associate osteoarthritis with elderly people and while the disease is related to aging, it is not caused by aging.  Of course as people age, the body experiences aging deterioration that can lead towards the direction of osteoarthritis, however, most medical experts believe that the disease is more of a hereditary bias. But, aging and deteriorating do create an environment for osteoarthritis.  Many people will develop the disease as a result of an injury or surgery.  Although the injury may be completely healed, and have been for years, the adverse affects are often osteoarthritis.  Another higher risk factor is obesity.  Obesity will puts pressure on the joints and force them to prematurely deteriorate.  Diabetes, whether childhood diabetes or diabetes that have developed later in life has also led to the development of osteoarthritis.  The difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is with movement, the joints feel better.  When a person begins to move around, the stiffness and soreness begin to alleviate and is eventually gone.  Constant movement reduces the swelling of the joints, and drinking water does as well.  While many people believe that pounding exercises such as running, aerobics, basketball, jump rope, and lead to osteoarthritis, there is no evidence to support that and further, it is sufficient evidence to support the opposite.  Exercising reduces the potential of developing osteoarthritis.  In addition, exercising will help balance out the mental and emotional state of the toll the disease has taken on someone.

There are some medications that can be taken to alleviate the swelling, pain and stiffness experienced by osteoarthritis suffers,   Ibuprofen is the common remedy for people suffering from the disease.  Oral steroids are not recommended for osteoarthritis because of the high rate of adverse affects and the very limited improvement results. Many people nowadays prefer natural, herbal alternatives to prescription pain killers to minimize any side effects that comes hand in hand with prescription medication.

Osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease and people who suffer from it can experience a lot of pain.  However, it is also a disease that is manageable.  With proper diet, and exercise, and inflammatory medications/natural anti inflammatory when needed, the disease can be maintained.  Exercise is extremely important for osteoarthritis sufferers.  When exercising, the joints are lubricated, the swelling is reduced and the pain subsides.  It may be hard to begin to exercise because of the stiffness and pain, but the end results are amazing.

Reduce fat in your diet, and drink lots of liquids, good liquids like water, juices and natural sports drinks – always avoid soda.  Maintain a healthy weight and get enough rest.  Take each day one day at a time as some days will be better than others.  Osteoarthritis does not have to hold anyone prisoner, with the improvement of basic daily living, you can hold osteoarthritis captive.

Expert tip on Osteoarthritis

As we know there is no cure for this condition, head to joint pain for more information to managing this condition.

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