According to data from the CDC, more than 30-million Americans suffer from the degenerative bone disease, osteoarthritis. This condition is the most common form of arthritis and affects joint cartilage. Areas of the skeletal system most at risk from developing osteoarthritis are the knees, hips, and hands.
This disease is an age-related disease, with over 70-percent of Americans over the age of 60-years having X-ray evidence of the condition. Osteoarthritis thins the cartilage and wears it down causing the development of bone spurs on the edge of the joints. As the disease progresses, affected individuals will begin to experience pain, aching, and stiffness from the affected joint.
Osteoarthritis is typically age-related, but other risk factors play a role in the development of the condition as well. Trauma or injury, genetic predisposition, and overweight or obese individuals are also at risk of early onset of osteoarthritis. Here are 10-things you need to know about the condition.
1. Osteoarthritis has Two Categories
The disease has two specific categories; primary and secondary. The two classifications have similar symptoms but differ in the cause of the disease. Both types involve the degeneration of joint cartilage resulting in bones rubbing against one another. The condition creates stiffness and pain in the joints of affected individuals.
Bone spurs, or osteophytes, form around the edges of the joints. In some cases, such as knee osteoarthritis, the Spurs may break away and lodge between bones. This circumstance reduces mobility and locks up the joint.
Primary osteoarthritis is general wear and tear on the joint cartilage that occurs with age. The first symptoms of the disease typically occur between the ages of 55 and 60-years. The disease can be aggressive or mild and affects one or more joints in the skeletal system.
In secondary osteoarthritis, a secondary factor causes the early development of the disease. These factors include;
• Injury – A car accident, sports injury, or other trauma that damages cartilage.
• Obesity – Excessive bodyweight places added pressure on the joints leading to premature cartilage wear.
• Genetics – Individuals with arthritic parents may be more likely to develop early symptoms.
• Inflammatory disease; Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may exacerbate cartilage wear.