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osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the common form of arthritis which results from the breakdown of cartilage and underlying bone, particularly at the joints. It is a chronic disorder and is often referred to as joint degenerative disorder or "wear and tear" disorder. Though osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, it is most likely to occur in the weight bearing joints at the ends of long bones like knees, spine, hips and elbows. Joints in the hands, which do majority of the work every day, also get affected more by this disorder.

You may have it but not feel it

All individuals will unequivocally develop osteoarthritis at some point of their lives because the underlying mechanism of this disease cannot be reversed. Joints are cushioned by the presence of soft tissue called cartilage which aids in its free and smooth movement. With the onset of osteoarthritis, this cushioning layer begins to thin out gradually, making the joint surface rougher. Thus, joints no longer glide as smoothly as they used to. The adjacent tissues of the joint work together, actively, to repair the cartilage damage. Because of this the joint continues to function and work normally, without any pain or stiffness, even though its inherent structure gets modified in the repair process.

Does one ever realize?

Cartilage damage and its associated repair continue throughout life. But as a person gets older, the repair process gets slower and joint structure may be modified to the extent of damage. This may aggravate with pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness. With time some prominent symptoms arise, which can no longer be ignored. It includes Knobbly joints: These are normally observed in joints of fingers. Firm bony outgrowths (called osteophytes or commonly spurs) may develop at the ends of joints, which restrict the smooth movement of joints because of friction. Hard knobs formed on the middle fingers are known as Bouchard's nodes. Soft joints: The synovium (joint space) may become filled with large amount of synovial fluid due to the thickening of the joint lining. The joint may become more fluidic in nature. Unstable joints: The associated tissues in the joint may stretch to a large extent; the support to the joint is lost and it becomes more and more unstable. Cracking of joints: Medically known as crepitus, this cracking sound may arise during movement due the loss its smooth and easy movement an occurrence of Pain even at rest.

What plays the role of the 'devil'?

There is no specific reason that can pin-pointed as a causative agent of osteoarthritis. This "wear and tear" disorder can affect anyone and everyone (almost) though certain factors put one at a higher risk. Osteoarthritis is generally not "gender-biased" but the condition is ideally found to be more severe in women (post menopause) than men. The risk factors can be segregate into 2 depending on their role/involvement in causing the disorder. Primary symptoms are-

Age: Generally people aged > 65 years are affected but risk starts at an age of > 40 years Joint abnormalities: If people are born with certain abnormalities (congenital) or develop the same during childhood owing to some deficiency

Injury: Major joint injury or fracture may lead to osteoarthritis later in life though no physical activity is known till date to cause this disorder

Hormonal: Diabetic people or those with growth or sex hormone disorders and gout are prone to developing osteoarthritis

Genetic: Inheritance some genes may put one at risk. Single gene mutation may affect the formation of collagen protein or cause defective collagen formation, which in turn may be linked to a rare form of the disorder

Secondary symptoms have indirect involvement in the disease condition. They include: Obesity: More is the body weight more is the load on the joints, Alkaptonuria, Rheumatoid arthritis, Accidents or operations, Wilson's syndrome and Ligament deterioration.

Life gets easier when you know management

When a person starts to care for his health and well being with a positive mind, he or she can the severity of any disease. In the present life, fighting any disorder means lifestyle changes and osteoarthritis is n exception to it. Some such measures, if followed may make life easier.

Cut down calories, Eat more fruits and vegetables; increase the content of omega 3 in diet, Control blood sugar, Remove the few extra pounds from your body, Put in physical activity but BE SAFE, Get the sun (for Vitamin D), Consume sour (for Vitamin C; promotes collagen formation) and Use olive oil instead of butter.

A very simple life hack as a preventive measure for osteoarthritis is to watch the cooking temperature of food. Research suggests that food (especially meat) cooked at high temperature produces certain compounds that can cause various forms of arthritis.

Does Panchakarma have an answer?

Aging is one of the main factors for the aggravated levels of Vata dosha in the human body. Treatment for Sandhigata vata (osteoarthritis), which is incurable but manageable, includes samana chikitsa (ayurvedic oral medicines and topical applications) and shodhana chikitsa (detoxification and healing through panchakarma). Swedana (for 11 days) serves a medium for the passage of drug molecules of Nirgundi that have immediate analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. Abhyanga with taila helps to pacify the provoked doshas, which are responsible for the different features like pain, swelling and stiffness during osteoarthritis. Niruha Basti for 1 day cleanses the colon so that the formulations of Matra basti can come in contact with the colon wall to exert its medicinal effect. Matra Basti is enriched with the guna (qualities) of snigdha, laghu, ushna and tikshna. Easy and comfortable to administer, it strengthens the body and promotes the formation of dhattus.

Narayana taila, which is sesame oil mixed with various ingredients like Ashwagandha, Patala, Atibala etc., is used during Abhyanaga anad Matra Basti and as potent Vata alleviating action. Extracts of Yograja guggulu have shown to decrease inflammation and pain of joints. If the pain and stiffness doesn't subside even after Basti, Raktamochana is carried out using Jalaukavacharana (leech application). None of these steps have any side effects and provides immense relief to the people experiencing osteoarthritis.

frequently asked questions

Can osteoarthritis cause numbness? Yes, Osteoarthritis may cause numbness in some situations. Knees, spine, hips, hands, and fingers are the most common body parts which are affected by osteoarthritis. Spine osteoarthritis may cause numbness in arms and legs while hand osteoarthritis may cause numbness in fingers.

Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease which affects the spine, knees, hands, and hips. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis. However, it can be classified into two types: primary and secondary. Primary osteoarthritis occurs due to wear and tear over time. Secondary osteoarthritis could occur due to obesity, joint overuse, and other factors.

If you have osteoarthritis due to increasing age, you should consume healthy food and consult your doctor to control this medical condition. If you have osteoarthritis due to unhealthy lifestyle, you should immediately switch to a healthy lifestyle.

The tips to prevent arthritis are basic and simple. Eat healthy food and maintain a good physique. Try to avoid excessive smoking and alcohol consumption. Do not burden yourself excessively while doing a tough job.

Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis both are bone-related diseases. However, osteoarthritis is a joint disease while osteoporosis is the medical condition in which bones become weak and less dense. Unhealthy lifestyle is the main problem, due to which both of these conditions occur.