Why is osteoarthritis so debilitating?

Osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition that affects more than 27 million Americans. It causes pain, stiffness, swelling and reduced mobility. Some people with osteoarthritis find it difficult just getting out of bed or getting up from a sitting position. Osteoarthritis can also damage muscles and ligaments, making it difficult to climb stairs or even climb into and out of the bathtub.

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage that supports and cushions the joints of the hands, spine, hips and knees wears away, and the bones rub against each other.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is debilitating because it affects every aspect of your daily life. In addition to the pain, stiffness and lack of mobility associated with OA, you may also have trouble performing everyday activities. Pain from aching joints can keep you from getting a good night's sleep. OA can also put a strain on your ability to do your job and on your personal relationships. That can cause stress, insomnia and even depression. Add it all up and osteoarthritis takes a toll.

But OA doesn't have to wreck your life. Because weight loss, exercise and a healthy lifestyle all help osteoarthritis, your diagnosis is a chance to take charge of the disease. The things you do to improve your arthritis pay off in increased capabilities, less pain and improved overall health. 

Osteoarthritis is debilitating not only because it causes pain and limits mobility, but because it can slowly get worse over time. Osteoarthritis is a process in which a joint breaks down, which can cause major problems. If the joint cartilage breaks down over time, it causes the protective slippery cushion of tissue that lines your joints to become damaged and unable to do its job. This damage can be permanent once the cartilage wears down to the point of bone-on-bone contact. This can be very painful and can lead to disability.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.