"Arthritis is one of the most common medical problems in the world ond the number one cause of disability in America." Osteoarthritis makes up half of all kinds of arthritis. It affects 20 million Americans and is most common in women and adults over age 45. It could affect any joint in your body. Such as those found in the fingers, hips, knees, lower back and feet. It usually only affects one joint in your body, but if your fingers become infected, mutiple hand joints could become affected.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis. The treatments today are more advanced of what was avaliable just 5 to 10 years ago. Recent reasearch reveals another potent arthritis treatment- you. How well you live with arthritis often depends on your actions and attitude.If you manage your arthritis, you could be able to get control over your pain.

If you have osteoarthritis, you could have some of the following symptoms:
- Pain in a joint during or after use.
- Discomfort in a joint before or during a change in the weather.
- Swelling and stiffness in a joint after using it.
- Bony lumps on the middle or the end joints of your fingers ot the base of your thumb.
- Loss of flexability of a joint.

With osteoarthritis the problem is in the cartilage. Over time the cartilage deteriorates and it\'s smooth surface roughens. if the cartilage wears down completley, you could be left with bone rubbing on bone. This causes the ends of your bones to become damaged and your joints to become painful.

The main complcations of osetoarthritis is that it can cause pain. The degree of pain can vary, from being a mild inconvenience to being debilitating. Arthritis doesn\'t go away but the pain of early arthritis decreases within a year. It can return if you overuse the affected joints.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis. Treatments to reduce pain and maintain or improve joint movements are avaliable. Doctors recommend treatments that may include medication, self-care, phyical therapy and occupational therapy. In some cases sugery may be used.



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