The most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory
disease which manifests itself in multiple joints of the body. It is believed to be the result of a faulty immune response, and
lifestyle changes such as exercise do not have much affect on managing symptoms.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by degeneration of cartilage, the hard but slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones
where they meet to form a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another and absorbs energy from the shock
of physical movement. In OA, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away, allowing bones under the cartilage to
rub together and causing pain, swelling and loss of motion of the joint.
The joints most commonly affected by OA are the knees, hips, and those in the hands and spine. The onset of OA is gradual
and usually begins after the age of 40. Currently, there is no cure for OA, however, treatment to relieve symptoms is available
and can include a combination of patient education, physical therapy, weight control and use of medications.
SymptomS of oSteoarthritiS
People with OA usually have joint pain and some movement limitations. In some people OA progresses quickly; however, in
most individuals joint damage develops gradually over years. OA can be relatively mild and interfere little with day-to-day-life,
but it can also cause significant pain and disability.
Warning signs of OA include stiffness in a joint after getting out of bed or sitting for a long period of time, swelling in one or
more joints, and a crunching sensation or the sound of bone rubbing on bone. Early in the disease, your joints may ache after
physical work or exercise. Later on, joint pain may become more persistent.
Early diagnosis and appropriate management of arthritis, including self-management activities, can help people with arthritis
decrease pain, improve function and stay productive. If you have symptoms of OA, see your doctor an