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It is a condition where the cartilage in the joint breaks down causing various symptoms like pain, swelling and stiffness. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis to afflict the humanity spares no age, race or geographic area. About 20 million people are afflicted in United States alone and about 90% of osteoarthritis in weight bearing joint by age 40 show radiographic features. This ailment usually afflicts both the sexes in equal numbers.

It is a condition where the cartilage in the joint breaks down causing various symptoms like pain, swelling and stiffness. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis to afflict the humanity spares no age, race or geographic area. About 20 million people are afflicted in United States alone and about 90% of osteoarthritis in weight bearing joint by age 40 show radiographic features. This ailment usually afflicts both the sexes in equal numbers.

There are two types of osteoarthritis, when it happens due to advanced age then it is labeled as primary osteoarthritis and if there is a known cause then it is called as secondary OA.

The etiology of OA is multi-factorial. The biggest risk factor is age. Obesity predisposes to Osteoarthritis and is fast becoming one of the leading predisposing factor. West Virginia is one of the nations top obesity afflicted state. It has been reported that 31% of the state population is obese as of 2006. Other risk factors are diseases like rheumatoid arthritis gouty arthritis, trauma etc.

Osteoarthritis can present with varied symptoms. It starts with occasional pain in the joint after repeated use or weight bearing. The symptoms then progresses to swelling and stiffness of the joint. When the pain occurs even at rest it is an indication of severe arthritis process.

When to seek medical advice? The pain in the joint becoming more frequent and is not subsiding with over the counter medicine and is affecting day to day activities. There is some misconception among the public that OA is part of aging and there is nothing much, could be done to treat it. No doubt it is hard to reverse the process of Osteoarthritis but there are various modes of treatment which can alleviate the symptom and help the patient to get back to their routine. The osteoarthritis gets confirmed mainly by clinical and x-ray examination. There is no specific blood test for this ailment. Blood test can help nevertheless to rule out secondary causes of OA.

Role of supplements in OA The alternative medicine popularity is increasing in the recent times. The facts have to be separated from the anecdotal presentations. Chondroitin and glucosamine have some marginal pain relieving ability and may also reduces stiffness according to various studies. But these effects are not uniform in all the patients. So if at all one would get the benefit it should be within 2 months of taking the supplements.