· Overview of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the large weight-bearing joints, often associated with old age, in which small body growths, calcium spurs, and occasional soft cysts appear on bones and in joints. As osteoarthritis progresses, the joint cartilage deteriorates, finally interfering with movement. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases reports that about one-third of adults in United States have x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in the hand, foot, knee, or hip, and by age sixty-five as much as 75 percent of the population has x-ray evidence of the disease in at least one of these sites.
· Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include: mid early-morning stiffness, stiffness following periods of rest, pain that worsens on joint use, loss of joint function, local tenderness, soft tissue swelling, creaking and cracking of joints on movement, bony swelling, and restricted mobility.
· Causes of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is considered by many to be a natural result of the aging process. To a large degree this is true, with nearly everyone over the age of sixty showing some signs of the disease. It has been said that excess weight, general wear and tear, and a lifetime of inadequate diet and exercise are the chief causes of osteoarthritis. Other research has found additional causes to be skeletal defects, genetic factors, and hormonal deficiencies- as evidenced by the many women who suffer osteoarthritis after menopause. Yet many people with osteoarthritis never suffer from the aches, pains and stiffness associated with the disease. Even for sufferers, there is much that can be done to restore arthritis-stricken bodies to functional health, when the underlying, systemic causes of osteoarthritis are identified and addresses.