If you have osteoarthritis, you’re not alone. This form of arthritis is the most common type, affecting more than 30 million adults in the United States. Osteoarthritis is a complicated disease and one that’s barely talked about by people who have it. Here are some things you need to know about it.
What is Osteoarthritis?
In short, it’s the wearing down of cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the smooth white tissue that protects bones’ ending in a joint. Its typical purpose is to act as a shock absorber, loading impact and allowing Go over one another steadily.
With osteoarthritis, that cartilage breaks down and starts to wear away. This causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can come and go or worsen over time.
There isn’t one specific cause of osteoarthritis. It can be caused by a combination of things, including:
- Age: The older you are, the more likely you are to develop osteoarthritis.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your joints, leading to osteoarthritis.
- Injury: An injury to a joint, such as a sports injury, can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis in that joint.
- Repetitive motion: Repeating repetitive motions, such as typing or running, can put extra stress on your joints and lead to osteoarthritis.
The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is a pain in the affected joint. This pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp, burning sensation. It may be worse when you move the joint or after you’ve been sitting or standing for an extended period.
Other symptoms include:
- Stiffness in the joint, especially after periods of rest
- Swelling in the joint
- Crunching or grating feeling when the joint moves
- Weakness in the muscles around the joint
Osteoarthritis is also known to affect people’s daily life. Here are some ways it does that:
If you have osteoarthritis, you may wake up tired, even if you’ve had a full night’s sleep. This fatigue is different from the kind of fatigue you feel when you’re run down or haven’t had enough rest. It can be constant and may become more severe as your arthritis progresses. In addition to joint pain, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis pain can make it tough to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. This can leave you exhausted during the day, making it hard to concentrate and get things done. Here are some ways to have a good night’s sleep with osteoarthritis.
Develop a Routine
One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep with osteoarthritis is by sticking to a routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. This will help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment
Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. If you have trouble sleeping, try using a white noise machine to block out distractions.
Regular exercise can help ease osteoarthritis pain and improve your sleep. Just be sure to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as this can make it harder to fall asleep.
Studies have found that people with osteoarthritis on their hands often develop oral problems. This is primarily because they can’t brush their teeth properly. In addition, the pain and stiffness in their hands make it difficult to eat, leading to poor nutrition.
These people certainly need help to deal with this problem. This is why people with osteoarthritis are urged to visit their local dentist. They can help with oral hygiene and ensure you get the necessary nutrients. They can even develop a treatment unique to you.
Osteoarthritis isn’t just about joints—it can also lead to gastrointestinal (GI) problems like indigestion, heartburn, and constipation. This is partly because arthritis pain can lead to changes in appetite and eating habits. For example, someone with arthritis might avoid eating certain foods because they’re difficult to chew or think they’ll worsen their pain levels. These changes in diet can contribute to GI problems like indigestion, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea. If you’re having GI problems related to arthritis, talk to your doctor about possible treatments or lifestyle changes that might help relieve your symptoms.
When dealing with chronic pain, it’s easy to become socially isolated. You may stop seeing friends and family as much, cancel plans, or avoid social situations altogether. This isolation can worsen feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. You can do a few things if you’re struggling with social isolation. Try joining a support group for people with arthritis. Or look for social events that interest you, like book clubs or classes. You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out for help when you need it.