Sometimes called wear and tear arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. When the smooth cushion between bones (cartilage) breaks down, joints can get painful, swollen and hard to move. OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in hands, knees, hips, lower back and neck. OA can happen at any age, but it commonly starts in the 50s and affects women more than men. This disease starts gradually and worsens over time. But there are ways to manage OA to prevent or minimize pain and keep mobile. Some people never develop OA.
Osteoarthritis was long believed to be caused by the wearing down of joints over time. But scientists now see it as a disease of the joint.
Here are some things that may contribute to OA:
Age. The risk of developing OA increases someone gets older because bones, muscles and joints are also aging .
Joint injury. A break or tear, can lead to OA after years.
Overuse. Using the same joints over and over in a job or sport can result in OA.
Obesity. Extra weight puts more stress on a joint and fats cells promote inflammation.
Weak muscles. Joints can get out of the right position when there’s not enough support.
Genes. People with family members who have OA are more likely to develop OA.
Sex. Women are more likely to develop OA than men
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