What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA), also called "wear and tear" arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a common joint disease affecting over 32.5 million US adults. The joints affected with OA are painful—sometimes swollen and sometimes stiff.
Most people above 60 years have some degree of OA, which is a top cause of disability in older people. However, OA also affects people in their 20s and 30s.
What is the main cause of osteoarthritis?
Due to aging or a joint injury, the cartilage is more likely to wear and tear. Further deterioration of the cartilage can make the bones rub against each other, giving rise to painful joint movements.
What puts you at risk of osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) can occur at any age. However, certain things that put you at risk of getting it include the following:
What are the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms can vary greatly among patients. These include:
What are the four stages of osteoarthritis?
- Grade 0 is the stage when the joint is healthy—there are no signs on X-ray.
- Grade 1: Doubtful narrowing of the joint space with possible bone spurs (tiny pointed bony growth)
- Grade 2: Definite bone spurs with possible reduced joint space
- Grade 3: Definite moderate joint space narrowing (at least 50%)
- Multiple bone spurs present
- Possible deformity of the bone contour
- Grade 4: Most severe stage of OA
- Large bone spurs
- Dramatic reduction in the joint space
- Definite deformity of the bone contour
The symptoms experienced at each stage may vary from individual to individual. Some people have few symptoms despite the deterioration of their joints. Others experience pain and stiffness that hamper their routine chores.