What Is Osteoarthritis?
In Canada, 1 in 6 people suffer from some form of osteoarthritis, and although symptoms most often appear between the ages of 40 and 50, they can occur earlier. In general, women 55 and older are more affected, and most people over the age of 70 are living with this disease. Unlike inflammatory arthritis, whose pain is often nocturnal and is more or less continuous, osteoarthritis is felt more during the day, and pain increases with exertion as the joints are used.
It is important to understand that osteoarthritis is first and foremost a mechanical disease. Osteoarthritis is in fact the wear and tear of cartilage, which loses its flexibility and effectiveness. As the cartilage wears out and weakens, it leads to symptoms and pain that can sometimes become very disabling. Osteoarthritis also affects all joints, including ligaments, bones, muscles, and synovial fluid (the fluid that naturally lubricates the joints).
Which joints are affected by osteoarthritis?
Movable joints are the joints most often affected by osteoarthritis.
• Knees: Osteoarthritis of the knee (gonarthrosis) is the most common form.
• Hips: Osteoarthritis of the hip joint (coxarthrosis) is the second most diagnosed form.
• Hands: Osteoarthritis of the hand, osteoarthritis of the fingers, or osteoarthritis of the thumb (rhizarthrosis).
• Back: Lumbar osteoarthritis, facet osteoarthritis, and cervical osteoarthritis (cervical spondylosis).
Osteoarthritis can also affect the shoulder, wrist, and ankle joints.
What are the main causes of osteoarthritis?
Excess weight and lack of physical activity play an important role in the development of osteoarthritis. Repetitive movements or frequent repetitive strain injuries can also cause abnormal wear and tear leading to this disease.
In many cases, osteoarthritis results from repetitive work (e.g., hip osteoarthritis in mail carriers or lumbar osteoarthritis in material handlers) or, on the contrary, from static work postures (e.g., cervical osteoarthritis in heavy truck drivers). In these cases, health specialists such as occupational therapists or ergonomists can help you find solutions to maintain maximum comfort at work.
Osteoarthritis can also be hereditary and occurs more often with aging.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Symptoms associated with the disease vary from one person to another. Here are the most common symptoms:
• Pain in a joint during movement. For example, knee pain while coming down the stairs.
• Stiffness in the joint after a period of immobility or upon awakening. It is normal to be less flexible in the morning; however, this stiffness should not last more than 30 minutes.
• Discomfort in the joint with weather variations.
• Discomfort when slight pressure is applied to the joint.
• You see small bone spurs (osteophytes) on the joint.
• Crackling can be heard as joints are stressed. This occurs mainly in cases of knee osteoarthritis.
• You notice redness or swelling of the joint. However, this symptom is less common.
Preventing and reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis
Maintaining a healthy weight:
Excess weight causes mechanical stress on the joints and leads to premature wear. Maintaining an ideal weight greatly promotes joint health. Weight loss, if warranted, will help reduce symptoms. Hip and knee osteoarthritis are common in people suffering from obesity.
Engaging in regular physical activity:
It is sometimes difficult to stay active when pain has set in. However, regular physical activity is important, not only for your overall health, but also to nourish and strengthen the muscles, thus relieving the joints. Although uncomfortable at first, regular activity can reduce the effects and pain of osteoarthritis.
It is important you choose a sport adapted to your condition. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, you may need to avoid sports such as running or downhill skiing. In the case of lumbar osteoarthritis, cycling, golf and tennis are not recommended. In all cases of osteoarthritis, swimming is an excellent sport to practise because it uses several muscles at the same time without causing shocks directly on the joints.
Taking care of your joints:
Whenever possible, avoid repetitive movements or movements that stress a particular joint.
How is osteoarthritis treated?
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely cure osteoarthritis. There are, however, a few solutions for living with osteoarthritis and relieving pain. Improving one’s lifestyle and following the above-mentioned recommendations will help prevent osteoarthritis and reduce its symptoms. Genacol is also a natural solution to help regenerate cartilage and reduce joint pain, thanks to AminoLock Collagen. Its effectiveness has been shown by three clinical studies, and all Genacol products contain it. Several other options are also available to you through our range of products, depending on your needs.
For example, Genacol Optimum, a complete 4-in-1 formula, combines this exclusive ingredient with three other elements essential to maintaining joint health:
AminoLock Collagen regenerates cartilage and relieves pain.
Glucosamine improves the quality of the synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint.
Chondroitin protects against degradation of joint tissue.
MSM protects tendons and ligaments.
All Genacol products can be used on a regular basis to maintain the benefits on the joints. In all cases, it is always best to consult a health care professional or pharmacist to ensure that our products (like any other supplement) are suitable for you.
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