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Osteoarthritis: Complications and risk factors
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It affects millions of people around the world and is caused due to the gradual wear and tear of the protective cartilage at the end of your bones. The condition most commonly affects the joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine although it can damage any joint in the body.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis develop slowly and get worse with time, and include pain during and after physical activities like movement. The joints may become tender and may pain even with the application of light pressure. Stiffness and loss of flexibility are some of the other symptoms. The loss of cartilage due to gradual wear and tear causes the condition. It causes the smooth surface of the cartilage to become rough, giving rise to friction.
Some of the risk factors involved that can increase your chances of developing the condition are:
- Old age - The chance of osteoarthritis increases with a person's age.
- Sex - A study concluded that women are more likely to develop the condition. Although there isn't an established reason, lesser physical activity is attributed as a possible cause.
- Obesity - Having excessive body weight can be a contributing factor. This is because it puts added pressure on the weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and the knees.
- Joint injuries - Joint injuries contracted due to sports activities, accidents or other such factors can increase the likelihood of this condition.
- Genetics - In some of the cases, the condition is observed to be passed from generation to generation.
- Bone deformities - Some people who are born with bone deformities and defects can have greater chances of having this condition.
- Other diseases - Having diseases like diabetes and gout can increase the risk of the condition.
Some of the complications of this disease are:
- Joint pain and stiffness may cause hurdles in daily activities. Daily activities like changing clothes can be painful.
- Some people are unable to work any longer. Joint replacement surgeries are advised by doctors in these cases.