When a person’s joints and its surrounding areas become damaged that his body cannot repair, then he is likely to experience osteoarthritis signs and symptoms. The real underlying reason why osteoarthritis happens is still unanswered by science although there may be many factors that are suspected of increasing your likelihood of acquiring this condition.
Each person is exposed to factors that slowly cause the joints to wear down and sometimes become damaged. Most of the time, the body is capable enough in repairing this damage itself without too much fanfare and without you even being conscious that the healing process is taking place. Some of the joint damages that can potentially lead to osteoarthritis include:
- Damage to the surrounding areas that protect your joints and enable it to move well and painlessly (cartilage)
- Swelling within the bone or in the joint itself
- Tendon or ligament problems
Osteophytes which are bony lumps can develop when your joints start to become knobbly and bones start to protrude. When the bones broaden and thicken, the joints can start to have motion difficulty, and become painful and stiff. When the joints are inflamed it can lead to fluid accumulation in the affected joints causing swelling in the affected area.
Factors that Contribute to Osteoarthritis
The reason why the process of repair of the body ceases causing the eventual onset of osteoarthritis is still a mystery. Nevertheless, many factors have been observed to play a role in the development of osteoarthritis. These factors include:
- Joint injury – A bad joint surgery or joint injury can lead to osteoarthritis. Also, osteoarthritis can occur later in life when you haven’t given your joints adequate time to heal after an operation or injury and you immediately put them to use.
- Secondary arthritis – You can develop osteoarthritis if your joints have been seriously damaged by an existing or previous joint condition like gout or rheumatoid arthritis. You can also experience secondary osteoarthritis even after several years have passed after the initial damage to your joint.
- Age – The older you become the higher your chances of developing osteoarthritis. This is because your joints and muscles become weaker as you get older especially if your joints have become worn out.
- Family history – Osteoarthritis can also be genetically inherited. Studies in the genes have not discovered a single gene responsible for the development of osteoarthritis and the hypothesis then is that more than one gene may be responsible or contribute to this condition. There are no signs that any genetic tests for osteoarthritis are being developed in the near future.
- Obesity – The role of obesity or excess weight in contributing to osteoarthritis is widely known. Obesity/excess weight causes more than enough strain on the joints, especially the joints that bear a substantial part of your weight. These often are the joints in the hips and knees. Hence, many obese/overweight people suffer from serious types of osteoarthritis.
Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.