What Does Osteoarthritis Mean ?
What Does Osteoarthritis Mean ?
The word Osteoarthritis is derived from the Greek term Osteo which means bone and arthritis which means joint inflammation. Its the oldest discovered health problem having been found in dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies. It is a chronic disease and the most common type of arthritis which causes deterioration of cartilage at the margins of joints leading to structural failure of joints. The disorder affects the entire joint including the nearby muscles and underlying bone ligaments, joint cover and lining.
The initial stages of Osteoarthritis are characterized by:
- The smooth cartilage that lines and protects the bone ends start to retain water and changes occur in the substances that make up the cartilage.
- Cracks develop in the cartilage which splits further forming clefts and fissures.
- Bone ends thicken and grow out from the joint margin. These growths at the ends are called Osteophytes or spurs.
- Small cavities, cysts, develop in the bone immediately under the damaged cartilage.
- Pieces of damaged cartilage or bones break off and float freely in the joint as loose bodies thereby causing more problems.
- The space in the joint becomes narrower as the cartilage becomes more damaged.
- The damage to the cartilage within the joint inflames the inner lining of the joint called the synovial membrane triggering it to produce excess synovial fluid which normally lubricates the joint.
- Build up of the fluid causes swelling around the joint.
The major symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- bone enlargement and swelling.
- Other symptoms include swelling that is warm to touch and sometimes red.
The pain of Osteoarthritis occurs is in the form of aches within or near the affected joint leading to a limitation to movement. Areas such as hands, spine and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips and back feet experience most of the pain and effects of Osteoarthritis.
A person may experience a considerable degree of stiffness in the affected joint after hours of resting, sleeping or sitting down. The stiffness fades away in less than 30 minutes of doing some light activities that warm up the joints.
Osteoarthritis is also characterized by bony enlargement and swelling. Continuous breakdown of cartilage may lead to the formation of a bony growth on at the ends of the bones in the joint.
Osteoarthritis mainly affects the elderly people (those above 45 years).
Osteoarthritis may be prevented in the following ways:
- Weight management.
- Regular exercise
Treatment of osteoarthritis is tailor-made to suit the individuals. Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve pain and prevent inflammation. Some of the drugs include:
- Advil (ibuprofen)
- Aleve (naproxen)
- Arthrotec (diclofenac)
- Daypro (oxaprozin)
- Indocin (indomethacin)
- Lodine (etodolac)
- Naprelan (naproxen)
- Voltaren (diclofenac)
- Relafen (nabumetone)
- Naprosyn (naproxen)
Surgery can also be used to treat Osteoarthritis but it should only be used when all the other forms of treatment have failed. There are four types of surgery available, they include:-
i) Fusion – this permanently prevents motion.
ii) Osteotomy – this is the realigning of the joint.
iii) Scoping – free bodies are washed out of the joint.
iv) Total joint replacement with an artificial joint.