Osteoarthritis is a disease that results when the cartilage in between your joints breaks down. You need this cartilage because it is what your body has that acts as a shock absorber. In a healthy individual, when their cartilage is damaged, it is repaired and replaced. Unfortunately, some individuals develop an imbalance where their cartilage is not replaced fast enough to keep up with the cartilage that breaks down. As a result, unnecessary friction occurs in the bones at the joints. This leads to a person having painful, tender joints that result in limited joint movement.
Osteoarthritis can drastically reduce a person’s quality of life. It can make it so that a person no longer engages in activities that they once loved or that they once found enjoyable. Now they avoid these aspects of life for fear of the pain that they could cause. As such, many people seek osteoarthritis treatment at our office.
Who Can Develop Osteoarthritis?
Just about anyone can develop osteoarthritis. However, there are some factors that may increase your risk of getting this disease. The first one is age. We say this because a good portion of individuals who have osteoarthritis are over 50.
Second, genetics plays a role. Osteoarthritis can be inherited. Third, researchers have seen a link between hormone imbalances and the development of osteoarthritis. For example, postmenopausal women have a higher risk of developing the disease. However, if these women take estrogen replacement hormones, they may not develop osteoarthritis.
Fourth, there has been a link shown between injuries, trauma and osteoarthritis. This is especially the case when the injury develops in the knee. Connected to this are injuries that are related to a person’s job. Many reports show a link between osteoarthritis and individuals who have jobs where their joints are repeatedly put under stress. This includes individuals who do things like operate a jackhammer or individuals who work in coal mines, farmers and cotton pickers.
Obesity is a fifth factor that can put you at risk of developing osteoarthritis. A strong link is seen between obese women and developing osteoarthritis in their knees.
Sixth is nutrient deficiency. Not getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D may predispose you to develop osteoarthritis, or it may make your osteoarthritis worse.
What are My Options for Osteoarthritis Treatment?
The osteoarthritis treatment options are going to vary depending on how severe your osteoarthritis is, as well as other illnesses that you might have. Treatment is based on the idea of controlling pain, minimizing inflammation and increasing strength and flexibility. It is important that patients take the initiative and educate themselves about osteoarthritis, as this is going to help them as they go through physical therapy or occupational therapy. This is also going to help them see the link between proper nutrition, healthy weight and correcting osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis can be life altering. However, with the proper measures, it is an ailment that can be treated. Make an appointment at the Arthritis & Osteoporosis Clinic of Brazos Valley to learn about your options for osteoarthritis treatment. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in College Station.