Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans ages 25 and older. Each day, many people suffering from osteoarthritis will visit our offices, and many of them are confused about what they’ve heard about the disease.
Here are some facts about arthritis that we discuss daily with our patients.
Fact #1: If one of your parents has osteoarthritis, you won’t definitely get it
You are more likely to get osteoarthritis if one of your parents has it, particularly if they have it in the knees. Women are more likely to inherit it than men. However, genes aren’t a perfect predictor. There’s a lot you can do to lower your risk of developing osteoarthritis, even if it runs in your family. If you live a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk.
Fact #2: Diet and exercise have a LOT to do with osteoarthritis
Actually, diet and exercise have a LOT to do with preventing osteoarthritis and lessening the pain it causes. With every pound you gain, you add four pounds of pressure to your knees. Being overweight increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis and speeds the rate at which the condition will develop. It’s very important to maintain a healthy weight. In fact, two out of three people who are obese will develop osteoarthritis. People with osteoarthritis can stay active and lessen their pain with low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, and yoga. These exercises help keep the muscles around your joint strong, and they involve stretching, so you’re able to maintain a full range of motion.
Fact #3: A doctor can still help me with knee pain if I don’t want surgery
It’s true that there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but surgery isn’t the only option. In fact, about 40 percent of seniors have osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, but only about 5 percent will undergo replacement surgery. You can manage osteoarthritis symptoms through a combination of exercise, weight loss, pain management techniques, alternative therapies, and nonprescription and prescription medications. Some improvement in pain and function is possible in almost everyone with osteoarthritis.
Fact #4: Osteoarthritis doesn’t happen to everyone when they age
Osteoarthritis is not a normal part of the aging process, but the risk of developing it does increase with age. There are plenty of elderly people who don’t have osteoarthritis, and there’s a lot you can do to prevent it from developing. You can lower your risk by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and resting any exercise-induced injuries.
Fact #5: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are not the same thing
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type. It’s also known as degenerative joint disease or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, because it’s caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage. Osteoarthritis is mostly a consequence of aging, because as we age, the water content of our cartilage increases while the protein composition of our cartilage degenerates. Osteoarthritis can also be caused by the overuse of joints, and by obesity, among other contributors.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a chronic, inflammatory type of arthritis. It’s an autoimmune disease that involves multiple joints. Researchers are still working to determine the cause of the abnormal autoimmune response. Common theories point to a genetic predisposition and a triggering event.
Osteoarthritis is a difficult problem to deal with, but with education and encouragement, patients can feel empowered to improve their daily lives.
Call for an Appointment
Palmetto Bone and Joint has numerous specialist to take care of your arthritis or any bone and joint problem you may have. Call to schedule an appointment at any of our 3 convenient locations. 803-941-8095, 803-321-6254, or 864-833-3046.