What is Osteoarthritis?
The word arthritis means inflammation (swelling) of the joint and Osteoarthritis, wear and tear arthritis is the most common type.
It's because of our joint's that we are able to walk 10's of thousands of miles in our lifetime in comfort. Even talking, eating, playing a piano are all because of our joints.
When we are young our bodies generates the cartilage it needs to soften the blow on our bodies but as we age this regeneration process lessens thus potentially developing OA.
It's estimated that 3,000,000, that's one out of every ten Canadians suffer from this and 85% of people over 70 will have this in at least one joint. This affects men and women equally and is developed around the age of 45.
In our younger years, the ability for the cells to produce glucosamine is usually sufficient to keep up with the demand. However, the forces of everyday life change and exercise, poor diet, excess weight, sports injuries and other trauma as well as aging all bring greater demands for cartilage repair and regeneration.
As we age, the production of glucosamine declines and the result is the demand exceeds the supply and the body can't keep up.
By age 40, many people have some form of OA on x-rays especially in the weight bearing joints. It may only affect one joint but can affect many.
In some people the joint may be stiff upon wakening but subsides after half an hour. If the damage worsens, the joint may become less movable and eventually may freeze in a bent position.
In the knee, the symptoms of osteoarthritis may include pain, stiffness, swelling, locking, and catching. This may progress to where you can only perform a limited amount of activities, whether it is an inability to run, walk, jog or even the simplest of tasks like going up stairs.
While there is no cure, there are ways to decrease the amount of pain to improve your range of motion as well as to maintain or improve function.
Excess weight can put a heavy strain on the knees thereby increasing the pain. If you are "overweight" losing around 10lbs can help prevent osteoarthritis. Less weight means less stress on the knees.
If a joint had been injured early on in life, it may predispose you to osteoarthritis later on in life.
What science tells us
Medical science tells us that we need to build, repair and regenerate cartilage. In order to do that our body must first produce the basic building block of cartilage: glucosamine.
Glucosamine is produced naturally by the specific cells in the body. However, over time and with age the efficiency of glucosamine production in the body declines.
It is thought that by taking a glucosamine supplement, it's possible to restore some of the damaged cartilage and thereby offer some pain relief. People who take these supplements have exhibited less pain and increased function.
Return from Osteoarthritis
to Joint Pain