Osteoarthritis is a disease involving joints that occurs due to the destruction of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones forming joints. The main aim of the joint cartilage is to allow a smooth, frictionless movement of the bones over one another. This is why the destruction of this protective cartilaginous covering causes the bones to rub directly against each other resulting in osteoarthritis. To conclude, it is the mechanical damaging responsible for the causation of osteoarthritis, unlike an abnormal immune response.
The epidemiologic studies conducted so far indicates it to be the most common disease amongst all the diseases of joints. It is likely to affect more than 20 million people in the United States alone.
Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis
The conditions which increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis are summarized below
- Old age
- Female sex
- Trauma to the joint
- Inherited bone disorders
- Repetitive stress on joint due to certain occupations
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
OA usually manifests itself in the form of pain in joints that increases with the activity and is relieved by rest. The involved joints are almost always stiff, particularly as you get up in the morning interfering badly with your ability to start your day in a great way. This is sometimes accompanied by the production of crackling sounds during joint movement, technically referred to as crackles.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
There is no cure currently available for the treatment of OA, however with the help of certain lifestyle measures and medications the symptoms can be effectively managed.
The lifestyle measures effective in the management of OA are as under
A regular exercise such as walking, swimming or any activity you like can have a great impact on the quality of life as these activities are going to strengthen the muscles and stabilize your joints.
Obesity increases the stress on the joints responsible for carrying body weight such as knee and hip joints. This is why weight reduction can be highly fruitful in the management of OA.
Medical Treatment of OA
The medications used for the treatment of OA are summarized below
It is usually the first drug used to relieve mild to moderate pain associated with OA. It is also known as paracetamol or acetaminophen. It is a safe drug however it can cause liver damage if the amount taken is higher than the recommended doses.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
They include medications such as ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium, naproxen, and Indomethacin. They can relieve the pain successfully. The most worrisome side effects observed with these drugs are stomach and duodenal ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding that could be life-threatening at times. They can also cause elevation of blood pressure and damage to kidneys.
Cyclo-oxygenase 2 Inhibitors
This is a relatively new class of drug that can effectively relieve the pain without causing all the above mentioned serious side effects observed with the traditionally used Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Currently, there is only one COX-2 inhibitor available for this purpose and that is known as Celecoxib.
In case of the failure of the above-mentioned options stronger analgesics such as narcotics or even surgical interventions may be required.
Do you suffer from osteoarthritis? Come to Century Medical and Dental Center (Downtown Brooklyn, Gravesend, Flatbush, Fort Greene and Midtown Manhattan) and discuss your treament options.