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What is osteoarthritis?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Primary osteoarthritis means that there is no known cause for the joint breakdown. Primary osteoarthritis can also be called "idiopathic" osteoarthritis. This type occurs in the vast majority of osteoarthritis cases. Secondary osteoarthritis occurs more rarely and happens as a result of another condition, such as when arthritis is caused by too much iron in the blood (hemochromatosis), which can damage joints.

Osteoarthritis, also known as the “wear-and-tear” type, is the most common form of arthritis and usually affects those who are over age 50 or who have an injured joint such as an athletic injury of the knee. The cartilage, which usually cushions the joint, becomes worn and less efficient. Osteoarthritis is most common in the joints that bear the weight of the body—the knees, hips and spine—and in joints that have been injured.

Osteoarthritis usually comes on gradually over the years and is more common in those who are overweight.

Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

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Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

Do you wake up each morning aching with joint or muscle pain? Have you been trying to lose stubborn belly fat for years? Do you wish you could be active without pain medications? Look no further: Diet for a Pain-Free Life is the simple-to-follow, doctor-designed solution to improve your health. Leading rheumatologist, Dr. Harris McIlwain shares his revolutionary prescriptions in this first proven lifestyle plan that will help you drop pounds and decrease pain at the same time. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce chronic pain by as much as 90 percent. Learn the secrets of how to: Eat Well and Lose Weight with the Pain-Free Diet—even if you've never been able to succeed on a diet before Exercise Your Pain Away—even if you dislike traditional exercise, or if your pain makes movement difficult Stop the Stress-Pain Connection—even if you're overworked and easily stressed Improve the Quality of Your Sleep—even if you suffer from insomnia or other sleep conditions Those who have followed Dr. McIlwain's program have been able to resume the activities they love and transform their lives in as few as 21 days—now you can too.

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis in which damage to cartilage and surrounding tissue in the joints occurs gradually and continues to get worse. Common causes of osteoarthritis include injury, overuse, lifestyle issues (like obesity), genetic makeup, infection and other diseases such as metabolic disorders. Osteoarthritis tends to affect the hands, knees, hips, lower back and neck. It is the most common type of arthritis.

The pain of osteoarthritis often makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as taking a bath. Kneeling, bending, sitting or standing may also become difficult. A doctor can recommend treatments to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Dr. Joseph F. Merola, MD
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

Osteoarthritis is most commonly thought of as “wear and tear” on the joints that occurs for a variety of reasons. Some joints tend to be more affected than others, such as the knees, where misalignment, past injuries, inflammation and a host of other contributing factors leads to loss of cartilage (the protective cap over the bones in the joint). With the loss of cartilage and other protective factors, increasing amounts of damage to the joint follows, and we are left with pain, generally worsened by activity.

Debra Fulghum Bruce PhD
Healthcare Specialist

Osteoarthritis or the “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis, affecting about one-third of the adults in the United States. Osteoarthritis usually happens after overuse or injury to a joint, especially in joints that support weight over the years (the knees, hips, and back). Although osteoarthritis can occur in younger adults in their twenties, it is more common in those over age fifty. Overweight individuals and those with injuries to joints or a family history of osteoarthritis have a higher risk of getting this painful ailment.

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions a joint gradually wears away, resulting in pain with movement of a joint. You may feel some stiffness in the morning that wears off in a few minutes. If you have pain or stiffness that lasts more than a few weeks in your knees, back, hands, neck, or other joints, check with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

More About this Book

Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

Do you wake up each morning aching with joint or muscle pain? Have you been trying to lose stubborn belly fat for years? Do you wish you could be active without pain medications? Look no further: Diet for a Pain-Free Life is the simple-to-follow, doctor-designed solution to improve your health. Leading rheumatologist, Dr. Harris McIlwain shares his revolutionary prescriptions in this first proven lifestyle plan that will help you drop pounds and decrease pain at the same time. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce chronic pain by as much as 90 percent. Learn the secrets of how to: Eat Well and Lose Weight with the Pain-Free Diet—even if you've never been able to succeed on a diet before Exercise Your Pain Away—even if you dislike traditional exercise, or if your pain makes movement difficult Stop the Stress-Pain Connection—even if you're overworked and easily stressed Improve the Quality of Your Sleep—even if you suffer from insomnia or other sleep conditions Those who have followed Dr. McIlwain's program have been able to resume the activities they love and transform their lives in as few as 21 days—now you can too.
Dr. Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, a condition also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It is the wearing of the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints; symptoms may include pain, stiffness and/or inflammation.

The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

According to conventional wisdom, arthritis pain is an inevitable part of aging. Not so, says Dr. Grant Cooper in this practical, accessible guide. For those who do develop osteoarthritic conditions,...
Eric Olsen
Fitness Specialist

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. This type of arthritis is the result of injuries or wear and tear on the joints. It is characterized by degeneration of the cartilage in joints, so it seems reasonable that the risk of osteoarthritis would go up with age; as we live longer, there is simply more time for our joints to suffer wear and tear and eventually wear out, becoming inflamed, stiff and painful.

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

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Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that starts later in life, usually after age 50. The joints affected are mostly hips, knees, feet, and spine; rarely affect hands. Joint symptoms include pain and swelling. There is no pain symmetry; pain often affects only one joint. Bone symptoms are bony growths and blood test results are normal.

 

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative arthritis where the cartilage in the joints gets stiff and then breaks down. It most commonly affects the weight bearing joints, especially the knees, but can affect any joint, especially if there has been a previous injury.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Joint deterioration, known as osteoarthritis, is so prevalent that it's expected to affect 40 million Americans by the year 2020. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, including your hips, hands, and spine. But there's a prevalence of joint deterioration in the knees—mainly because we rely on them so much to carry our body weight up stairs, around the house, and everywhere we go.

You don't have to go to medical school to understand osteoarthritis, but you probably need a quick lesson in joints. Your body is filled with hundreds of joints, in all shapes, sizes and varieties. The most common type of joint is the point where two bones meet, such as the knee or elbow. The end of a bone is protected by tough tissue called cartilage. When cartilage wears away, the bones that form a joint can scrape against one another. That can result in the pain, stiffness and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Primary osteoarthritis (OA) is arthritis that has no known cause. There's no trigger, such as an injury that first began to damage the joint. Primary OA is sometimes called idiopathic osteoarthritis. As we learn more about the genetic causes of OA, the term primary OA may become obsolete. We may soon be able to pinpoint a specific gene or set of genes that cause the disease.

Secondary osteoarthritis (OA) is osteoarthritis that has a known cause. If you're having knee osteoarthritis now because of an old athletic injury you got back in high school, you've got secondary osteoarthritis. Other possible causes of secondary osteoarthritis include being overweight or obese and being inactive. You may also have a genetic propensity to getting osteoarthritis. Whether your osteoarthritis is primary or secondary, the symptoms and treatment are pretty much the same.

Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is also called a degenerative joint disease because it results from the deterioration of the bones and cartilage that make up the joints. From ages 40 to 70, osteoarthritis is more common in women than men. Women more often have osteoarthritis in the hands and knees and are 10 times more likely to develop Heberden's nodes—hard, bony growths that form on the joints nearest the fingertips. Osteoarthritis can result from genetics and also from trauma or repeated stress.

In the knees, osteoarthritis may be the result of years of skiing, tennis, or running, but also from excess weight. Women with this problem may find it increasingly difficult to walk, climb stairs, or get up from a chair.

Osteoarthritis of the hand often starts with stiffness and soreness of the joint at the base of the thumb, particularly in the morning. Some people with osteoarthritis of the hand may find that with age, their hands thicken and become stiff. Stiffness is gradually followed by pain or instability. In other people, pain and stiffness may subside over time, leaving only enlarged joints as reminders.

Think of walking in stiff, hard shoes both without socks. Or, if said shoes are handy, do so. While socks provide cushioning (and contain odor), you'll notice they also provide a buffer to absorb the friction that would occur if the shoe rubbed up against your skin. Without the sock, your exposed skin would rub against the shoe, get irritated, blister and become inflamed.

It's the same concept with your joints. As you lose your internal sock-meaning as that slippery, shock-absorbing cartilage between your bones thins—bones lose their ability to slide and they can rub directly against each other. When that happens, the effect is like stick on stick-and it hurts.

In simple form, that's what osteoarthritis is. It's a condition in which the cartilage that covers the bones and forms the surface of the joints becomes thinner, rougher and less protective of the bone, so the bones grind against each other, and the joint becomes inflamed. It's painful and makes walking-or any kind of moving-difficult.

Osteoarthritis can occur in any of your joints, including your hands, hips and spine, and your knees—which can be most troublesome. In fact, 85 percent of us who reach age 85 will have knee osteoarthritis if we don't do something to prevent it.

Unlike osteoporosis, osteoarthritis is a disease that you will feel-often-in the form of mild to severe pain, creaking or swelling and stiffness in your joints.

Many things can make osteoarthritis more likely, including bad posture, overuse, heredity, obesity, lack of calcium and lack of vitamin D and vitamin C. Luckily, you can prevent progression of the osteoporosis, and even reverse it, by following the right anti-aging guidelines.

YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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If you notice your joints creaking a little and not moving as smoothly as they once did, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about osteoarthritis. As you age, cartilage—the shock-absorbing tissue that cushions our joints—can start to break down over time, causing increased stress on the bones, muscles and joint tissue. This can lead to pain, swelling, stiffness and difficulty with joint movement. Osteoarthritis is not just normal wear and tear, but an active biological process that breaks down the cartilage in response to stress on the joint.

About 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis. It most often strikes joints in the knee, elbows, fingers (especially the joints closest to the nail and in the thumbs), lower back, neck, hip, ankle and big toe.

Exercise, weight management, medications and other therapies all can help relieve the joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Dr. Suhail Kumar, MD
Rheumatologist

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, progressive arthritis resulting from a loss of articular cartilage and an increase in subchondral bone. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States affecting nearly 30 million people. The degenerative nature of the condition progresses with increasing age and increased mechanical stress on the joint.

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Dr. Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine Specialist

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is a form of arthritis (inflammation of a joint) caused by degeneration of cartilage. Cartilage serves an important role in joint function. Its gel-like nature provides protection to the ends of bones by acting as a shock absorber. Without the cartilage in the joint, bone literally rubs against bone, leading to pain, deformity, inflammation and limitation of motion in the joint.

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

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From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...
Dr. Kelly Traver
Internist

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that caps and protects the bones within a joint wears down. This exposes bone to bone, which is painful and also irritating to the soft tissues. Bone spurs (little stubs of new bone growth) form in response to this irritation, so that the joint gradually enlarges with bony growths. A low-grade inflammation develops in the surrounding soft tissues.

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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.