Worried about osteoarthritis? This joint disease, which occurs as we age, can be the source of more than aches and pains – it can cause major disruptions to daily life.
If you have questions about osteoarthritis (also called OA), there’s no need to wait until your next doctor’s appointment. Here are the top 5 questions, answered:
1. What can cause osteoarthritis?
While many factors can contribute the arthritis, the cause is always the same. As a person ages, the cartilage that usually protects bones in joints from rubbing together wears down over time. Often factors such as obesity, trauma such as an ACL tear, an injury, or even genetics can play a factor.
2. Is rheumatoid arthritis the same as OA?
No. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints, whereas osteoarthritis is caused by long-term wear and tear of joint cartilage. While rheumatoid arthritis is less common, it can begin at any time in life and has a very rapid onset. OA, however, may take years to form, and is often formed later in life. Additionally, osteoarthritis symptoms often manifest themselves on one side of your body first, while rheumatoid arthritis affects your body symmetrically.
3. Is there a cure for osteoarthritis?
No cure for osteoarthritis currently exists. While some people only ever reach the mild stages of osteoarthritis, others can end up progressing to the later, more severe stages. However, you can work to manage your symptoms using tools like lifestyle changes, physical therapy and medication to help relieve the inflammation and pain associated with OA.
4. Will I need surgery?
Surgery may or may not be needed, depending on the severity of your OA. While surgery does not remove the arthritis, it can relieve the pain for much longer than managing symptoms can alone. Your healthcare provider might recommend surgery if you’ve already lost a lot of cartilage, or if you are healthy and relatively young. This would prolong the comfort of a younger person, or help to reverse damage that cannot be prevented from progressing by diet or exercise alone.
5. What can I do to prevent OA from progressing?
While you can’t stop arthritis completely, you can do things to help slow it from progressing. Preventive measures such as maintaining a balanced and healthy weight and lifestyle can help offset pressure to your joints that can further cause arthritis. Additionally, physical therapy can help you strengthen your muscles and joints. Finally, staying active can also help prevent OA.
For osteoarthritis diagnosis and care in South Carolina, consider visiting the experts at Carolina Orthopedics.
Carolina Orthopedics provides high quality orthopedic services and care to the Aiken and CSRA communities. Carolina Orthopedics offers accessible, affordable orthopedic care to provide diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation services, including sports medicine, reconstructive surgery and total joint replacement. They accept all insurance programs.