What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is indeed the most common form of arthritis and is often referred to as degenerative joint disease or "wear and tear" arthritis. It primarily affects the cartilage, the protective tissue that covers the ends of bones within a joint, causing it to break down and deteriorate over time.
Loading the player...Osteoarthritis and Medications - Acetaminophen and NSAIDs <p><a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/rheumatologist">Rheumatologist,</a> discusses osteoarthritis treatments such as acetominophen and NSAIDs.</p>
Rheumatologist, discusses osteoarthritis treatments such as acetominophen and NSAIDs.
Loading the player...Symptoms and Treatment of Osteoarthritis <p><a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/rheumatologist">Rheumatologist,</a> discusses diagnosis and symptoms of osteoarthritis.</p>
Rheumatologist, discusses diagnosis and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Loading the player...Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee <p><a href="https://orthopedics-now.com/local/orthopedic-surgeons">Orthopedic Surgeon</a><a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/orthopaedic-surgeon">,</a> discusses Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee.</p>
Loading the player...Osteoarthritis in the Hands <p><a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/rheumatologist">Rheumatologist,</a> discusses diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of osteoarthritis in the hands.</p>
Rheumatologist, discusses diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of osteoarthritis in the hands.
Who Gets Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is indeed more common in individuals aged 50 or older and tends to affect women more than men. Factors such as obesity, joint injuries, and excessive joint use can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
While the exact cause of osteoarthritis is not fully understood, there is evidence suggesting a genetic component, especially in cases affecting the hand joints. Diagnosis typically involves a thorough medical history assessment, physical examination, and sometimes additional tests like blood work and imaging studies to rule out other conditions.
Early intervention is crucial in managing osteoarthritis because joint damage cannot be reversed. The primary goals of treatment are symptom management, maintaining mobility, and reducing joint pain. A multimodal approach, combining various treatments, is often employed.
Pharmacotherapy plays a significant role in controlling osteoarthritis pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation. There are several types of NSAIDs available, each with its own considerations. Analgesics and opioids may be used for pain control as well. Over-the-counter analgesics like acetaminophen can be effective and safe for long-term use, while stronger opioids are reserved for cases where NSAIDs and analgesics are insufficient. Caution should be exercised with opioids due to their potential for dependence.
Corticosteroid injections directly into the affected joint can provide temporary pain and swelling relief, although they are generally limited to a specific number of injections per joint per year. Remember to verify the information provided by contacting the healthcare providers directly, as network participation and availability can vary over time. Find local massage therapists physiotherapists and personal trainers to help with strength and conditioning if you are experiencing arthritis.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
If you are experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a rheumatologist, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis. Rheumatologists have expertise in managing various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis.
Rheumatologists can evaluate your symptoms, perform a physical examination, and order diagnostic tests if necessary to confirm the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. They will also consider your medical history and any risk factors you may have for developing the condition.
Treatment options for osteoarthritis may vary depending on the severity of the disease and the affected joints. Rheumatologists can provide recommendations and develop a personalized treatment plan to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. This may include a combination of non-pharmacological interventions, such as exercise, physical therapy, weight management, and assistive devices, as well as medication options like analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs.
In some cases, when conservative measures are not sufficient, or if there are specific joint-related issues that may benefit from surgical intervention, a rheumatologist may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedic surgeons specialize in surgical procedures for musculoskeletal conditions, including joint replacements for severe osteoarthritis.
It's important to have a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for osteoarthritis. Your local health network should be able to provide you with a list of rheumatologists in your area.