Scientific investigations have clarified that the disease of osteoarthritis is common in older people following years of wear-and-tear that thin the cartilage and the bones (Davis 1988). Osteoarthritis can also result from diseases in which there is softening of the bone, like Puget's disease in which the long bones of the body curve like a bow, or osteoporosis with its bowing of the shoulder called "dowager's hump," or other bone degeneration (Hammerman 1989). Other forms of arthritis can also cause a secondary osteoarthritis. Despite what many have been told, osteoarthritis is not an inevitable problem of aging. Those who don't suffer from it may have their heredity and possibly the strength of their immune systems to thank. Medical science is not quite sure of all the factors that come into play in deciding who gets osteoarthritis and who doesn't. As was mentioned, osteoarthritis creates a formation of spurs of bone to form in the locations where the disease is most prevalent, often in the back of the neck, spinal column, and knees but in various other locations as well; as the research will continue to point out (Brandt 1988). This ultimately leads to restricted movement due to the destruction of the cartilage and causes inflammation and pain in the areas the disease targets.
Arthritis alone is simply medically known as a swellin...
d by the inflammation and the breakdown of cartilage around the joints which makes it far more complex than the basic form of arthritis itself (Hammerman 1989). Cartilage is the shock absorbing material between joints. The weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, as well as the hands, are the joints most often affected by osteoarthritis. These joints are under much greater stress because of additional weight and continuous use (lifting, sports, support, and movement). The concern that too much physical activity may lead to osteoarthritis is on the rise also (Davis 1988). Specialists who work with patients who have this disease now claim that too much physical activity can lead to osteoarthritis since "the continuous stress that physical activity places on the joints can result in micro trauma and degeneration of the articular cartilage" (Davis 1988). Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis. Among the over 100 different types of arthritic conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting over 15 million people in the United States (Hammerman 1989). Before age 45, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After age 55 years, it occurs more frequently in females. Most cases of osteoarthritis have no known cause, and are called primary osteoarthritis (Brandt 1988). When the cause of the osteoarthritis is known, the condition is called secondary osteoarthritis. Primary osteoarthritis is mostly related to aging. After prolonged use of joints, the cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny crevasses. In advanced cases, there is a total loss of the cartilage cushion between the bones of the joints. Loss of cartilage cushion causes friction between the bones, leading to pain and minimized movement of the