1. What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic inflammatory illness that affects the joints. It causes cartilage loss, joint inflammation and swelling.
It is normally located in the knees, hips, hands and spinal chord but particularly affects weight-supporting body parts.
2. What are the main recommendations to prevent osteoarthritis and joint conditions?
- Keep a healthy diet and avoid overweight
- Keep regular physical activity
- Avoid practising high impact sports
- Keep correct body posture
- Do not overuse your joints
- Use proper shoes
- Follow your physician’s recommendations regarding medication
3. What are osteoarthritis symptoms?
Osteoarthritis causes pain, stiffness (in the morning or after a long period of inactivity), and swelling. In advanced stages joints can be deformed, leading the patient to no longer execute certain movements normally, like walking or going upstairs, for example.
4. Isn't osteoarthritis only a condition of the elderly?
Osteoarthritis is not only an ageing-associated condition. There are several risk factors:
- Genetics: genetic inheritance is estimated in 40% of cases.
- Overuse of the joint due to repetitive work
- Intense sports practice or impact sports
- Feminine hormones: the prevalence of osteoarthritis trebles with the onset of the menopause in women over 45 years old, due to the drop in the estrogenic level.
5. Can osteoarthritis be cured?
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured. The existing oral treatments are intended to alleviate symptoms, improve mobility of the joint and slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.
6. What are the main medications for osteoarthritis?
- Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs: they alleviate pain quickly but are not capable of changing the disease's development, as the symptoms reappear once the treatment stops.
- Chondroprotectors: chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. Chondroprotectors have a slow symptomatic action and have a demonstrated symptomatic efficacy similar to that of anti-inflammatory drugs (they alleviate pain and improve mobility). In addition they can slow down the degenerative process in the joints.