Disease Proof

Osteoarthritis: Understanding and Preventing our Nation's Primary Crippler

From the March 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a nearly universal degenerative condition, affecting both men and women as they age. OA is the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 28 million adults in the United States.

In OA, the cartilage cushion in the joints breaks down, which eventually can cause the bones to rub together. Pain, stiffness, and sometimes the formation of bone growths, called spurs, result. OA can affect any joint, but it is most common in the hands, feet, spine, and in large, weight bearing joints such as the hips and knees. OA of the hip and knee represents the leading cause of pain and disability in adults in the U.S. OA is often referred to as the “primary crippler” of adults, and the percentage of the population with these symptoms has been increasing in recent years.1

OA also is called degenerative joint disease (DJD) or ordinary arthritis. It differs from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as it does not involve an immune system-mediated attack on the joints as is the case with RA.

Despite its prevalence and the fact that it worsens with age, OA is not the inevitable consequence of aging. Recent scientific advances have enabled us to better understand the contributory factors that promote arthritis, dispelling the myth that joint degeneration is merely an age-related phenomenon.

Here’s more on osteoarthritis:

1. Christmas C, Crespo CJ, Franckowiak SC, et al. How common is hip pain among older adults? Results from the third National Health and Nutrition examination survey. J Fam Prac 2002;51(4):345-8.
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