This is a condition that most commonly affects the joints of older people. Joints are the areas of the body where moving bones meet.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that most commonly affects the joints of older people. Joints are the areas of the body where moving bones meet. Although the exact cause of osteoarthritis is not known, risk for developing the condition is increased by:
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a form of arthritis that affects the entire joint. It especially affects the tough rubbery tissue that protects and cushions the bones (cartilage).
Osteoarthritis most often develops in the hands, hips, knees, neck, and lower back. The symptoms usually develop slowly, typically starting during middle age or later. Symptoms may include:
Occasionally, the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis may vary with cycles of flare-ups and remissions (when symptoms are less noticeable). Osteoarthritis symptoms can vary from day to day due to many factors, including activity levels and environmental factors (e.g., weather conditions). Sudden flare-ups are much more typical of other arthritic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis).
Diagnosing osteoarthritis can lead to interventions that can help delay and limit joint damage and other complications associated with the disorder. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the above symptoms. He or she will take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and possibly order imaging studies (x-ray or MRI) to check the condition of your joints. Your healthcare provider may also recommend lab work to rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
If you believe you have osteoarthritis, you should see your healthcare provider.
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