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UNDERSTANDING OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA)

September 2, 2013

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects around 27 million Americans, making it the most common type of arthritis.  And contrary to popular belief, arthritis doesn’t only happen to the elderly. Inflammatory arthritis is most common in middle age, occurring after age 45.  Below are  more osteoarthritis facts to help you better understand and care for the condition:

Joint pain is not inevitable with age

Creaking knees, hips, and ankles aren’t necessarily normal aches and pains that come with age.  The pain might signify arthritis, which can be treated.  Gaeta published a nationwide telephone survey with some stunning results: nearly one in five (19%) had chronic pain like that caused by arthritis.  Yet nearly half said they didn’t know what caused their pain.  For those with chronic joint pain, a physician evaluation is important to properly diagnose the cause of the pain.

Joint inflammation is not believed to play much of a role with osteoarthritis

Unlike other forms of arthritis, inflammation is not a big factor in or symptom of osteoarthritis.  Other painful conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system that are not associated with inflammation include, fibromyalgia (a condition characterized by localized painful “trigger points” and fatigue), pain in the muscles of the lower back and pain in the muscles of the neck.

There is currently no cure for arthritis

Currently, scientists are learning much more about the abnormal proteins and substances involved in inflammatory diseases like arthritis and are developing ways of blocking the action of these molecules with medications.  Scientists are also looking into whether people with arthritis continue to have improved symptoms after they stop taking medications.  For osteoarthritis, the only current cure is joint replacement.  The human body is unable to re- grow cartilage once it has worn away, but surgically replacing the joint or joint surfaces can provide substantial relief in people who have very advanced osteoarthritis.  Exercise, weight control, and occupational therapy can also help manage the pain associated with osteoarthritis.

If osteoarthritis has come to limit your ability to care adequately for yourself or a loved one,  AAging Better can provide trained caregivers to help manage the activities of daily living or chores around the home so that affected individuals are able to stay safely and effectively in their own homes for years to come.

Contact us at 208-777-0308 if calling from the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls or Hayden areas; 208.263.7889 if calling from the Sandpoint, Priest River or Bonners Ferry areas;  or if calling from the Kellogg, Pinehurst or Wallace areas, 208.784.1505.   We would be happy to answer any questions about obtaining in-home care for you or a loved one suffering from OA.

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