What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that features the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. Among the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common. Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently as we age. Before age 45, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After 55 years of age, it occurs more frequently in females.

Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. Osteoarthritis usually has no known cause and is referred to as primary osteoarthritis. When the cause of the osteoarthritis is known, the condition is referred to as secondary osteoarthritis.

What causes osteoarthritis?

Primary osteoarthritis:
•    Osteoarthritis not resulting from injury or disease.
•    It’s mostly a result of natural aging of the joint. - With aging, the water content of the cartilage increases, eventually, cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny crevasses.

Secondary osteoarthritis:
•    Obesity
•    Repeated trauma or surgery to joint structure.
•    Congenital abnormalities-
•    Diabetes
•    Hormone disorder

Signs and symptoms:

•    Pain in the effected joints.
•    Swelling, warmth, creaking of affected joints.
•    Pain and stiffness of joints after long period of inactivity.
•    Morning stiffness
•    In severe OA, complete loss of cartilage cushion causes friction between bone, causing pain even at rest or pain with limited motion.
•    Progressive cartilage degeneration of the knee joints can lead to deformity and outward curvature of the knees, which is referred to as being "bowlegged."
•    osteoarthritis of the weight-bearing joints (such as the knees) can develop a limp

How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?

There is no blood test for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis-rays of the affected joints can be used to diagnose osteoarthritis. The common X-ray findings of osteoarthritis include loss of joint cartilage, narrowing of the joint space between adjacent bones, and bone spur formation. Other investigations include MRI, CT scan, joint fluid analysis etc.

Homoeopathic treatment:

In degenerative cases homoeopathic remedies are selected based on patient’s constitutional personality. As all patients comes with almost same symptoms like pain, stiffness etc. It’s difficult to differentiate personalities. Individualisation is important factor while dealing homoeopathic cases.

Self help:

•    Weight reduction
•    Avoid activities that exert excessive stress of joint cartilage.
•    Diet control
•    Mechanical support devices such as knee braces.
•    Swimming well suited for patients of OA because it allows patients to exercise with minimal impact stress to joints.

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