Osteoarthritis is the result of the cartilage between joints wearing thin as people age. Though osteoarthritis can happen in any joint, from elbows to toes, is most likely to occur in the hands, knees, hips and spine the joints in the human body that take the most wear and tear. Male victims of osteoarthritis often report the first pains in their knees. For women, this initial hint of osteoarthritis may occur in the hips.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis come on slowly, beginning with morning stiffness and pain, and tenderness or swelling during episodes of bad weather. As time goes on, osteoarthritis symptoms get worse, and sufferers may even feel their joints rubbing together. They may also develop bone spurs, which make joints even more painful.
To treat osteoarthritis, doctors recommend regular, mild exercise and diet, to keep weight down and reduce inflammation body fat is a primary trigger for osteoarthritis. Foods to eat include citrus (vitamin C aids in cartilage development), broccoli, tomatoes and fish or yogurt the last two high in vitamin D, which delivers healthy joints and helps delay the onset of osteoarthritis. In fact, regular walking or participation in a daily exercise program not only helps osteoarthritis victims maintain function but relieves the pain of osteoarthritis.
Doctors also recommend over-the-counter painkillers for their osteoarthritis patients, follows by weak narcotics and steroid injections in the affected joint(s). Some may recommend low-impact hydrotherapy, massage therapy, or even acupuncture. Ultimately, osteoarthritis sufferers can expect to undergo joint replacement, which given modern techniques and substances usually allows patients to remain active another 15 to 20 years.
Because osteoarthritis seems to have a genetic connection, scientists are examining the link between gene defects and collagen a part of cartilage that may fail to develop normally in some people. So far, studies have identified six genes that may be responsible for osteoarthritis.