Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting millions of people across the globe. It often affects joints in the hands, hips and knees and occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of our bones gradually deteriorates. When the cartilage wears off completely, bones rub on each other causing inflammation of the joints.
Who is at risk of developing osteoarthritis?
Several factors can increase your risk of osteoarthritis. They include:
• Older age: The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age, so the older you get, the more susceptible you are to this condition. A recent analysis showed that populations with a mean age of 50 years and above were at risk of OA.
• Sex: Although it isn’t clear why, women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
• Obesity: As we age, we lose muscle mass and gain fat mass. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the weight-bearing joints like the hips, putting you at greater risk of OA. Additionally, fat produces proteins that cause harmful inflammation in and around the joints.
• Joint injuries: Injuries from playing sports or an accident can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
• Genetics: You can inherit the tendency to develop osteoarthritis. If your immediate family members have OA, then there’s a possibility that you might get it too.
Early signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis
Joint pain that worsens with activity and finds relief after rest is suggestive of osteoarthritis. The discomfort associated with OA can be classified as either tenderness or pain. In the early stages, most patients don’t suffer debilitating pain but will experience aches or tenderness when moving the affected joint.
Our joints have a naturally-occurring fluid. When a joint is affected by arthritis, this fluid build ups causing swelling and pain. If you notice any swelling in your joints, consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
If you find it difficult to bend or extend a joint fully, that could be an early sign of osteoarthritis. Joint stiffness is most noticeable after getting out of bed in the morning or after being inactive for a while.
4. Abnormal sensations
As your cartilage starts to wear down, you might experience some abnormal sensations, such as grating of the joints. You might also feel your joints cracking or clicking when you move.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult a rheumatologist for a proper diagnosis. Dr, Stephanie Barrett offers osteoarthritis treatment London based. Book an appointment to start your treatment journey today.