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Osteoarthritis in Men

Osteoarthritis More Common in Men


Updated August 31, 2006

Osteoarthritis is a term that describes a degenerative disease of the joints. It is the most prevalent form of Arthritis in the United States. It affects over 20 million adults and over 50% of all people over the age of 65 have some evidence of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common in the Japanese population, less common in East Indians, South African black people and the Southern Chinese.

The term 'osteo' means bone and arthritis means inflammation. Most osteoarthritis however is not caused by inflammation but by deterioration of the cartilage in the joints.

Signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Wear and tear on the joints usually causes pain, stiffness, creaking and warmth in the affected area. The most frequently used and weight bearing joints are the most susceptible, namely the hands, knees, hips, shoulders, spine and the big toe. The severity of symptoms vary greatly even where the damage appears about the same on X-ray or when viewed by arthroscopy where a small camera is inserted into the joint space.

Causes of Osteoarthritis
The most common cause of osteoarthritis is ageing. Overuse of joints and trauma are also common causes.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis
An accurate diagnosis is important as it is possible for other diseases to produce similar symptoms i.e. gout, diabetes, congenital bone or joint abnormalities, trauma, hormone disorders and obesity.

Treatments Prevention of Osteoarthritis
The main goal of treatment is prevention of further damage, reduction of joint pain and any inflammation and maintenance of joint function.

Home Remedies, Complimentary and Alternative Treatments
Glucosamine and chondroitin food supplement can help with joint stiffness and pain and are thought to protect joints already affected by osteoarthritis. They can be bought over the counter from drug and health food stores. Fish oils capsules, omega 3 caps, have been shown to reduce inflammation.

Weight Reduction and Osteoarthritis
Reducing your weight reduces stress on the joints, especially the knees and is advisable to all those people who are overweight or obese.

Other Treatments for Osteoarthritisl

  • NSAIDS - nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Aleve or ibuprofen can be very effective. There are gastrointestinal side effects with some of them. Consult your doctor if this is the case.

  • Heat treatments, wax or warm water soaks, bed soaks at night can all help treat affected joints locally. Some people find a cold compress for 20 minutes at bedtime can help.

  • Steroid Injections administered by a doctor can help reduce severe pain and swelling but usually need to be repeated.

  • In severe cases surgical joint replacement or fusion of joints may be required.
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