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Arthritis Information

  • Arthritis is a group of conditions where there is damaged caused to the bone joints of the body, resulting in inflammation. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the over 65s and the disease affects about twice as many women as men. This community focuses on general arthritic conditions as well as osteoarthritis...
  • Arthritic diseases include psoriatic arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease; septic arthritis, caused by joint infection; gouty arthritis, caused by uric acid crystals; and the more common osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease. Arthritis can be caused from strains and injuries from repetitive motion, sports, overexertion and falls. Unlike the autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis largely affects older people, and results from the degeneration of joint cartilage. Other forms are discussed below.

    Arthritic joints can be sensitive to weather changes. The increased sensitivity is thought to be caused by the affected joints developing extra nerve endings in an attempt to protect the joint from further damage.

    Osteoarthritis (OA, also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, and sometimes referred to as "arthrosis" or "osteoarthrosis" or in more colloquial terms "wear and tear"), is a condition in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in the joints, caused by wearing of the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints. As the bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, the patient experiences pain upon weight bearing, including walking and standing. Due to decreased movement because of the pain, regional muscles may atrophy, and ligaments may become more lax. OA is the most common form of arthritis. The word is derived from the Greek word "osteo", meaning "of the bone", "arthro", meaning "joint", and "itis", meaning inflammation, although many sufferers have little or no inflammation.

    OA affects nearly 21 million people in the United States, accounting for 25% of visits to primary care physicians, and half of all NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) prescriptions. It is estimated that 80% of the population will have radiographic evidence of OA by age 65, although only 60% of those will be symptomatic (Green 2001). Treatment is with NSAIDs, local injections of glucocorticoid or hyaluronan, and in severe cases, with joint replacement surgery. There is no cure for OA, as it is impossible for the cartilage to grow back. Although, if OA is caused by cartilage damage (for example as a result of an injury) Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation may be a possible treatment.

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