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Osteo-Arthritis

What is Osteo-arthritis?
Osteo-arthritis (OA) is most common form of arthritis affecting mostly the Knees.

How common is Osteo-arthritis?
Osteo-arthritis is most affecting one out of eight people between the ages of 18 and 79. According to Arthritis Foundation, approximately 16 million Americans suffer from Osteo-arthritis, three times as many women as men. Osteo-arthritis has increased recently due to sedentary lifestyle as people walking less, are more over-weight, eat fast food, junk food etc and are not keeping the muscles toned by doing quality exercises. so they are bound to suffer from knee disorders which is simply gravity and weight leading to wearing-out of cartilages. Also more Osteo-arthritis is seen due to increase in awareness and life expectancy, and increase in treatment modalities.

At what age does osteo-arthritis occur?

Most common age for osteo-arthritis is after 60-65 years and this is a normal course of events like losing hair or getting grey hair. But when it occurs in the late 40's or early 50's, then this is due to bad lifestyle.

How does Osteo-arthritis occurs?
Cartilage contains fluid and elastic tissue, and functions to reduce friction as the joint moves. It acts as a shock absorber and as the sliding surface that covers the ends of bones. Osteo-arthritis results from chemical changes in the cartilage that cause it to break down faster than it can be produced.

Knee starts degenerating with age which is more when there is extra weight, diabetes. gout, autoimmune diseases, etc. Gradually the smooth and shiny cartilage between the two bones of the thigh and leg starts wearing out and the bone strikes bone and this leads to a lot of pain and stiffness, especially early in the morning. There is stiffness in the morning and patient requires to take a few steps before he can walk properly.

Previous infection of the joint may predispose to Osteo-arthritis by altering the chemical makeup of cartilage. The weakened cartilage causes it to wears out due to which bone rubs against bone. ultimately leadings to Osteo-arthritis and increased bone density, which may result in bones that are less able to absorb impacts and to protect cartilage from trauma.

What treatment are available for O.A.?
Till date there has been no known cure for Osteo-arthritis. The treatments available were:
-   Decrease the pain with medicines, Herbs and Heat or cold applications
-   Supportive measures like Weight loss, Rest, Nutrition / food supplements
-   Assistive devices to make life easier.
-   Exercise and Paraffin bath etc
-   Surgical treatments for severe Osteo-arthritis with significant loss of cartilage. These include :
-   Arthroscopy for pain relief or to fix the joint
-  Osteotomy to correct joint deformity
-   Arthrodesis to immobilize joint by fixing bones
-   Joint replacement for severe joint deterioration

Surgery for Osteo-arthritis is usually considered i the patient is fit for it. However it may need several months of rehabilitation after surgery and an artificial joint may only last for 10 to 20 years when it may wear out and need repeat surgery.

 

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