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Fit College Research Article

Tara Coetzee 20th October 2013

What is Osteoarthritis?
What is Osteoarthritis? Criteria used for classifying the disease. - Triggers - Controls - History of disease - Severity Medication and effects. Contraindications that may need to be modified for this disease. Support for more information

Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint disease (AIHW, 2013) that affects the weight bearing joints of both males and females. These joints include hips, ankles, hands, spine and knee. The aging disease is where the cartilage of the joints, such as ball and socket joints, begins to wear down until there is none left and in turn the bones are left to rub against one another. Due to this, inflammation of the joints occur causing loss of movement to the joint and pain in the affect area.

Causes of Osteoarthritis
The causes of osteoarthritis can be due to a number of contributory factors as well as damage to the joint/s. Although the exact causes of the disease are still unknown, there are many ways in which an individual can increase the risk of coming across the disease. One way in which an individual may experience the disease is of course damage to the joint/s. There are three different types of damage to the joint. They are; Ligament and tendon problems, inflammation of the joint itself or within the bone and damage to the protective surface (cartilage) that allows your joint to move smoothly (Health Insite, 2013). All of which may be due to contributory factors. Joint injury is one of the leading factors were damaged, some cases surgery, has been caused to the joint and continues usage of the joint is being performed without any time for it to heal after it has been injured or operated on. However this only comes on later on in life, which also leads to age becoming a risk. We all know that it is impossible to stop aging although most of us wish that we could, but it is reality that aging does come with some issues. The risk of getting the disease increase as your age increases. This is because of out joints been worn out after years of usage. Not all do experience osteoarthritis though aging and can be due to family history and genetics. Did you know women are at a higher risk of developing arthritis than men( Health Insite, 2013)? Well it is true and to add more to that fact, people who are suffering from obesity put a lot of strain of their joints causing injury to major joints such as the knees, hips and ankles. As a result the disease can often be worse off in those who are obese than those who are at a healthy weight.

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How to Control the Disease?

As stated previously that the exact cause of Osteoarthritis is still unknown there is also no cure for the disease nevertheless there are ways to manage the disease. Things such as exercise, weight loss, braces, orthotics and medication or surgery can be necessary if the patient wishes to improve in their condition. By keeping the joint mobile through the use of exercise can maximize the health of the cartilage, maintain joint movement and improve muscle strength (Better Health, 2012). Exercise not only allows the joint to maintain/improve flexibility but it also decrease the pain in the joint by strengthening the surrounding muscles of the joint that will help to support the sore joints. Find out more about you condition by visiting your doctor and asking questions as to the extent of the disease and possible medication to relieve and pain and anti-inflammatory medications. If you are overweight, start by controlling your weight and visit your dietician whom may be able to advise you on a safe way to loss that weight bearing on your joints. One way that assist those who are suffering with the disease and to make life a lot less stressful is to purchase household equipment that are specially designed to aid and assist people who have painful joints. To find out more visit an occupational therapist for further questions.

Maximize the health of the cartilage, maintain joint movement and improve muscle strength. Better Health

The views of those in ancient times believed that osteoarthritis was the visitation of evil spirits or retribution for specific sins of omission or commission (Aux Mailles Godefroy, 2009). Over time scientists have been able to study the disease further with the use of advanced technology. From this they were able to discover that the disease can be in fact hereditary. Genetic studies have not identified a single gene responsible, so it seems likely that many genes make small contributions (Health Insite, 2013). This is all to do with contributory factors and can make a difference to the severity of the disease.

Severity of the Disease

Early Stages: - Cartilage begins to thin out - First symptoms of Osteoarthritis begin to show up Moderate Stage: - Just noticing the pain and stiffness - Muscles become weaker - Bones become thicker and reactive tissue known as bony spurs Late Stages: - Joint structure is affected - Swelling which causes more pain and stiffness - Surgery is required to replace joint (Everyday Health, 2011)

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Medications and Effects

Before taking any medication it is best to see your doctor as there can be many side effects that you need to be aware of. However some medication can be bought over the counter, but even so please ensure to talk to the chemist about further questions before purchasing any medication as it may affect any current medication that you may be taking. These pain medications include: Acetaminophen To help relieve pain. Aspirin, nonsterodial anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen To reduce pain, swelling and fever. Steroid shots Reduce swelling. Hyaluronan shots To Relieve pain. Opioids To Relieve moderate to severe pain. Whether we like it or not, all medications have side effects, some very depending on the strength of the medication and whether you have any allergy to the ingredients of the medication. To guide you into greater depth about these side effects ask your pharmacist about the side effects for each medication. These effects are also listed in the information booklet that comes with the medication. Some side effects do tend to go away after a while, although if the side effect is bothering you, call you doctor who will either be able to lower the dosage of the medication to change it for you. Do not quite taking your medication unless you have been given the instruction from your doctor to do so. If there are server side effects that are life threatening, call 000 or any other emergency service straight away. These effects may be: - Hives - Trouble breathing - Swelling face, lips, tongue or throat (WebMD, 2011)

Activities needed to be modified

Activity modification is a lifestyle change that can help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and improve overall well being, (OA Health Info, 2013). Many people limit themselves from activities in which they once took part in and enjoyed because of this their level of physical activity have decreased. They may hope to reduce the pain and inflammation, but in the long run it will cause more harm than good. It is important to maintain an exercise program as it is proven to have decreased symptoms and improve the overall function of the joint that is affected. Due to the improvement, less medication will be needed to relieve pain and inflammation which in turn eliminates the chances of side effects from the medication. However keeping a balanced exercise program is also the key as over usage of the joint can create unwanted effects from too much exercise. The purpose of an exercise program is to improve the strength of the muscle, muscle flexibility and joint mobility as well as maintaining cardiovascular fitness. Suitable exercise for osteoarthritis is swimming, water running and pool exercises all of which is safe for those who are affected by the disease to participate in. Activities such as weights, running and anything that involves high impact activities to the joints need to be consulted prior to starting any activity or exercise program by a doctor. (OA Health Info, 2013)

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Support for Additional Information

If you are one of those who are angry, confused, frightened or even sad about the fact that you are suffering from the disease, you are not alone. Talk to a health care team who will be able to assist you in any way possible to ensure that you are getting the most support that is needed in order to deal with what it is that you are going through. Try to keep a positive attitude as sometimes the condition can get you down, especially if pain, stiffness or disability is affecting your everyday life, (Arthritis Vic, 2009). Talk to family and friends about your feelings as they might not understand what youre going though. Visit your GP if the feelings that you are going through are becoming too much to bear. In some cases they do advise you to see a counselor or psychologist who will be able to aid you in your feelings and can help you work through them. Call the Australian Psychological Society on 1800 333 497 or visit Or contact the Arthritis Office for any resources or management programs as well as support groups on 1800 011 041 or visit (Arthritis Vic, 2009)

There are many resources available to help people with osteoarthritis. (Arthritis Vic, 2009)

Health InsiteOA Health thritis (Overview) ication.php (Activity modification) AIHW (Description of osteoarthritis) Arthritis Vic Health Download/PDFs/Taking-control-of-your Osteoarthritis-booklet.aspx (Support) cv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Osteoarthriti s (Manage) Aux Mailles Godefroy story_of_osteoarthritis(History)

Always check information from the web with a trusted member of your healthcare team. (Arthritis, Vic, 2009)

Everyday Health arthritis/stages-of-progression.aspx (Severity) WEBmd /tc/osteoarthritis-medications (medications) WebMD /acetaminophen-forosteoarthritis#hw125333 (Effects)

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