Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints.

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It can begin from teenage and gets worse as we grow older. Osteoarthritis is very common, before age 45; osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After age 55 years, it occurs more frequently in females. Arthritis is the word used to describe inflammation of a joint. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints.

Cartilage is a protein substance that acts as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. With aging, the water content of the cartilage increases and the protein part of the cartilage reduces. Continuous use of the joints over the years irritates and inflames the cartilage, causing pain and swelling in the joints. With time, cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny gaps. In advance stage, there is a total loss of the cartilage between the bones of the joints. Loss of cartilage causes friction between the bones, leading to pain and limitation of joint mobility.

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joint after repetitive use. The joints that are affected ache and you may feel or hear them crunching or cracking. Osteoarthritis of the knees is often occurs with obesity or injury to the keen, such patients can develop a limp. The limping can worsen as more cartilage degenerates.

Osteoarthritis of the spine causes pain in the neck or low back. Bony spurs form along the arthritic spine and can irritate spinal nerves, causing severe pain, numbness, and tingling of the affected parts of the body.

Other sources of information for these topics.

Osteoarthritis (OA)
Disease Center: Osteoarthritis (OA). We Also Suggest:. Consult your physician for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Your local chapter can provide a ...

Osteoarthritis: medical information about the symptoms, diagnosis
Medical information about osteoarthritis, the effects of cartilage degeneration, its symptoms and treatment options.

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