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Osteoarthritis(OA): a de-generative joint disorder – Risk Factors, Location and Symptoms

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder. It is a chronic disorder. There is no well established way to cure it. The goals to prevent osteoarthritis are to improve joint strength and movement, control pain, enjoy a healthy lifestyle and maintain an acceptable weight. Some factors that increase risk of osteoarthritis are:
– Age: People over 45 are at highest risk for osteoarthritis.
– Gender: Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in women. Before 45 it hits men because of joint injuries. After 45 to 70 women predominate. After 70 both sexes are equally at risk.
– Obesity: Being overweight during midlife and later.
– Bad diet: Fatty, high cholesterol foods and alcohol.
– Joint misalignment: if joints move or fit together incorrectly such as bow legs or a dislocated hip.
– Genes: A defect in one of the genes responsible for the formation of collagen results in cartilage that is weaker and degrades faster.
– Lifestyle: Sports injury to knees and hips, walking barefoot on marble floors, ill fitting shoes etc.
– Weak muscles: They put too much strain in the joint leading to tears in the tendon.

Osteoarthritis (OA) can affect any joint in the body, some joints are more vulnerable than others. Most targeted areas are:
– fingers where bone spurs in the middle of the fingers digits produce characteristic swelling.
– knees and hips joints are most likely to produce severe pain and disability.
– neck and low back can be very troublesome.
– feet where it often singles out the joint at the base of the big toe.

Osteoarthritis can be capricious. Sometimes, pain is experienced even before the condition has progressed enough to produce x-ray abnormalities. But reverse is also possible; some individuals feel little or no discomfort even though their x-ray show advanced osteoarthritis. Pain usually begins gradually. It can be mild or severe. Although the pain is usually centered in the involved joint, it can also be referred to nearby areas. In case of osteoarthritis, morning stiffness is common but it usually resolves in twenty minutes. Stiffness after rest is also brief but patients with advanced osteoarthritis can be stiff and creaky for most of the day. People having painful joints tend to be inactive and the inactivity leads to another symptom muscle weakness.
It is a vicious cycle, but appropriate forms of exercise can break the chain of disability.

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