Most people can describe the main symptoms of the disease well enough: joint pain and reduced mobility. Often people know that it is a degenerative joint disease that usually worsens with age. But if asked to describe arthritis, many people aren’t aware of exactly what the disease does to human joints.So, what is it like to be living with osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that attacks joints such as the knees, fingers, and hips. Human joints have a protective layer between the bones called cartilage. Cartilage is soft enough to absorb the stresses put on a joint, and protects the bones from damage.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage deteriorates, either due to age or injury. When this happens the bones that make up the joint rub together, causing pain and the gradual buildup of bony cysts.
Can Osteoarthritis be Cured? Currently, no cure exists for osteoarthritis. Treatment options center on prevention, if possible, and control of the disease.
Degenerative arthritis is a chronic disease that worsens over time. With age, human joints slowly lose the ability to regenerate and repair cartilage. At its worst, the disease can cause constant pain and severely reduced mobility.
Who’s at Risk? Arthritis is a shockingly common degenerative joint disease: by age forty almost ninety percent of the American population displays some warning signs. By age sixty, fifty percent of the population has the disease to some degree, although degrees of severity vary widely from individual to individual.
The most common risk factors are obesity—which puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints—and a family history of the condition. Osteoarthritis affects both genders, and strikes more often in rural populations. Low-income populations are also at greater risk than other groups, particularly as a result of poor diet.
Although the condition in all its forms is generally seen as a disease of the elderly, it can strike at any age. Approximately 250,000 children in the United States live with arthritis, most often due to trauma or injuries.
Degenerative Arthritis and Human Joints. Although it can affect any or all of the joints in the human body, the condition most often strikes the weight-bearing joints. The hips and knees are very common targets for degenerative joint disease. The spine, elbows, ankles, shoulders, toes, fingers and wrists are also common targets.