Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints. It is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. Around 1 million people see their GP about it and the NHS in England and Wales performs over 140,000 hip and knee replacement operations every year.
Three key characteristics of osteoarthritis are:
Osteoarthritis mostly occurs in the knees, hips and small joints of the hands and base of the big toe. However, almost any joint can be affected.
Who develops osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people over 50 years of age and is more common in women than in men. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not quite true. While in very old people the changes of osteoarthritis are visible on X-rays, they don’t always have related pain or problems with joint function.
Younger people can also be affected by osteoarthritis, often as a result of an injury or another joint condition.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints.
The amount of damage to the joints and the severity of symptoms can also vary. For example, a joint may be severely damaged without causing symptoms, or symptoms may be severe without affecting the movement of a joint.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be eased with a number of different treatments. Mild symptoms can often be managed with exercise or by wearing suitable footwear. However, in more advanced cases of osteoarthritis, other treatments may be necessary.
Treatments include non-drug treatments, including physiotherapy and weight loss, medications such as painkillers, and surgery.
The results of a new trial suggest that costly hip and knee replacements could be averted by giving patients a drug costing less than £1 a day. The treatment is said to be the first to slow the progress of osteoarthritis and is already used to prevent fractures in post-menopausal women.
Strontium Ranelate, marketed as Protelos, is a powder that is mixed with water to make a lemon-flavoured drink. The new findings, presented at the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ECCEO) in Bordeaux, France, showed that Protelos reduced deterioration of knee joint cartilage in a group of OA patients by a third over three years .It also led to a significant reduction in pain and improved day-to-day mobility.
I have osteoarthritis – I am not over 50 years old yet!! And it is very painful but I find that it has to be Mind over Matter.