Osteoarthritis: Bone and Public Health Problem

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  • Topic: Osteoarthritis, Bone, Knee
  • Pages : 3 (792 words )
  • Download(s) : 373
  • Published : August 3, 2006
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There are over 100 different types of arthritis conditions affecting over 20 million people in the United States, of those Osteoarthritis is the most common. It affects as many pople as all other types of arthritis combined. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among older adults. Joint diseases account for half of all chronic conditions in persons aged 65 years and over. The prevalence of Osteoarthirtis is high and will get even higher as the number of older Americans increases. Because of its prevalence it is recognized as a significant public health problem.

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of the cartilage of the joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis. Most cases of osteoarthritis have no known cause, and are called primary osteoarthritis. When the cause of the osteoarthritis is known, the condition is called secondary osteoarthritis (3). Primary osteoarthritis is mostly related to aging. After prolonged use of joints, the cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny crevasses. In advanced cases, there is a total loss of the cartilage cushion between the bones of the joints. Loss of cartilage cushion causes friction between the bones, leading to pain and minimized movement of the joint(s). Inflammation of the cartilage can also stimulate new bone outgrowths (spurs) to form around the joints. These spurs may cause the joint to enlarge and press on other nearby structures such as nerves or tendons. This can lead to significant pain, further limitations in joint motion, tendonitis and other problems. Secondary osteoarthritis is caused by another disease or condition. Conditions that can lead to secondary osteoarthritis include obesity, repeated trauma or surgery to the joint structures, abnormal joints at birth (congenital...
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