Basic information about osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis that affects adults. Arthritis 1 for Disease Control and Prevention.
How can someone with OA improve their quality of life? It most frequently occurs in the hands, hips, and knees. With OA, the cartilage and bones within a joint begin to break down. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling, and can result in disability. OA affects over 30 million US adults.
OA is caused by damage or breakdown of joint cartilage between bones. Age—The risk of developing OA increases with age. Gender—Women are more likely to develop OA than men, especially after age 50. Being obese—Extra weight puts more stress on joints, particularly weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees. Genetics—People who have family members with OA are more likely to develop OA.
People who have hand OA are more likely to develop knee OA. Race— Some Asian populations have lower risk for OA. OA is diagnosed through a physical examination and review of symptoms, X-rays, and lab tests. OA should be diagnosed by a doctor, particularly a rheumatologist who specializes in arthritis and other related conditions. Medications, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers. Physical therapy with muscle strengthening exercises. Supportive devices such as crutches or canes.