What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a disease most commonly found in the fingers, knees, hips and spine. The joints feel stiff and painful, becoming steadily worse as you get older.
An estimated 8.5 million people in the UK are affected by the condition, with typical sufferers being 50 years of age or older.
Typical symptoms of osteoarthritis are:
Stiffness and pain in the joints (the pain can vary from a dull ache to a stabbing pain)
Possible swelling in affected joints (making the joints appear knobbly)
Reduced movement in the affected joints (as well as a possible grating of the joints on movement)
Morning stiffness (where, for about half an hour after waking, there is a stiffness in your joints which slowly eases)
Osteoarthritis develops when the smooth cartilage in the joint becomes rough, weak and brittle over time. The bone spreads out and thickens in order to compensate. This forms knobbly outgrowths because the synovial membrane surrounding the joint thickens as the fluid-filled space within it diminishes. Bits of cartilage can also break away and crumble from the bone. This causes bone ends to painfully rub together, as well as altering the shape of the joint.
When making a diagnosis, your GP will take several things into account. He or she will study X-rays and consider which of your joints are actually affected, as well as asking you a range of questions, such as: the level of difficulty you have with things like climbing the stairs, getting up from a chair, bending, shopping; and what social activities feel more restricted since the onset of your condition.
Your doctor will also look for ‘tell-tale’ signs of osteoarthritis, such as: your joints being larger than normal and knobbly in appearance; tenderness around the joint; and creaking when moving the joints.
If you have developed osteoarthritis, the key signs will show up on your X-ray, such as: spaces in the joint being smaller due to the loss of cartilage, and your bone being thicker in some places and thinner in others due to the fluctuation in bone cell activity around the joint area.
Effect on your life
At first, many people deal with osteoarthritis by trying to ignore the condition, and just getting on with life as best they can. However, it is a progressive condition (this means that it gets worse over the years).
Many people say they feel depressed as a result of developing the condition and the impact it has on their daily lives, which can feel like a restricted and isolated existence.
Getting in and out of the bath can be difficult, or going up and down stairs. Some people have to give up work. And in severe cases, sufferers are even unable to do things like comb their hair.
The good news is that many sufferers gradually learn to live with their condition and reshape their daily lives accordingly, being as active as possible while still factoring in sensible rest periods and not attempting tasks or activities they should not.
Painkillers and anti-inflammatories can help to manage the condition. But also balancing exercise and rest can ease the symptoms. You will find that although you can still do lots of normal things and be relatively active you may not feel up to doing things one after the other. Interspersing rest periods before and after is advisable, therefore.
Keeping socially active is quite important, too, because it can help to take your mind off your condition.
Other treatments can include:
Applying heat to stiff and painful joints for short periods up to three times a day
Massaging the muscles around the joints
Wearing a soft collar (if you have osteoarthritis in the neck and back areas)
Swimming in a heated pool
And if your mobility is severely affected:
The possibility of surgery to replace a knee or hip joint
To reduce the severity and effect of osteoarthritis, it is advisable to maintain a normal weight for your height and body structure, to avoid excessive stress on the joints as you get older, and to try to keep as physically active as you can (even if that means a short daily walk).
How Chemist Online can help
To help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis, we have available to buy through this website Ibuprofen 400mg Tablets which can also reduce feverishness and the symptoms of colds and flu. You can also buy Paracetamol Soluble Tablets from us, which provide fast, effective relief from arthritic pain.
Advice & Support
18 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD
Tel: 020 7380 6500
E-mail: [email protected]
This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.
Article Directory: http://www.articletrunk.com
Chemist Online is your No1 discount online chemist shop. From Allergies to coughs and cold treatments Chemist Online has most of your brand name medicines that you can buy direct from the site.
Please Rate this Article
Not yet Rated