What is osteoarthrithis?
Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints, causing pain and stiffness. It is severely debilitating. As the disease progresses, normal movement becomes increasingly restricted and painful. With an estimated 10% to 15% of adults aged over 60 suffering from the disease, OA is the single most common cause of disability in adults. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 80% of those with OA will have limitations in movement and 25% cannot perform daily activities.
Which joints does osteoarthritis affects?
Any joint of the body can be affected by osteoarthritis (OA). However, it commonly occurs in the load-bearing joints of the knees and hips. OA is also relatively common in joints which are continually stressed over the years, such as the fingers, feet, lower back and neck.
What causes osteoarthritis?
In a healthy individual, the cartilage between two bones enables smooth motions in the joints. In osteoarthritis (OA), this cushioning material is broken down. This results in stiffness, swelling due to inflammation and pain when moving the joint as the bones rub against each other. In further stages of OA, the bone itself starts to break down and develops outgrowths called spurs or osteophytes. Other tissues of the joint, including ligaments and tendons, are also affected and broken down.
Who is affected by osteoarthritis?
There is no single cause for osteoarthritis (OA). However, several factors are known to increase the risk of developing the disease:
- Age: OA often develops in people over age 50 as the use of the joints over many years is likely to lead to the breakdown of cartilage.
- Obesity: Excess weight puts additional stress on the joints, particularly the knees and hips. This speeds up the breakdown of cartilage.
- Gender: OA affects women more often than men. Particularly in OA of the hands, it can have genetic causes.
- Injury: A history of joint and ligament damages or surgery increase the risk of developing OA. Repetitive movements over longer periods of time in some sports or occupations may cause those damages.
What are osteophytes?
Also known as bone spurs, osteophytes are outgrowths of the bone. They form as the joints are increasingly damaged by osteoarthritis.
How do I suspect I have osteoarthritis?
A strong indicator for OA is joint pain when using the joint or at the end of day after having used the joint. Joint noises such as cracking noises during movement may also occur. Frequent stiffness first thing in the morning or after being a rest is one of the most common symptoms. Swelling, warmth and redness of the joint is a strong indicator for its inflammation. Some symptoms may be deceiving, particularly in OA of the hip. So-called “referred pain” in other regions of the body may actually be caused by the hip joint.
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.
How does the IBLab Analyzer assists the handling of osteoarthritis?
An early diagnosis is crucial for an effective control of the symptoms. With its novel Bone Microarchitecture Analysis, the IB Lab Analyzer assesses the details of the trabecular bone structure long before they are visible to the human eye. This analysis can deliver valuable information about the effectiveness of the treatment on an anatomical level.