- Nearly 1 in 5 adults-- 42.7 million have doctor-diagnosed arthritis
- 23.2 million people live with chronic joint symptoms, but have not been diagnosed by a doctor
- Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation's leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15
- Arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability.
- Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking, dressing and bathing for more than 7 million Americans.
- Costs to the U.S. economy totals more than $86.2 billion annually.
- Baby boomers are now at prime risk. More than half those affected are under age 65.
OA is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a cushion between the bones of the joints. OA is also known as degenerative arthritis. Among the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions, OA is the most common and occurs more frequently with age. Before age 45, OA occurs more frequently in males. After age 50, it occurs more frequently in females. OA commonly affects the hands, feet, spine and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. Most cases of OA have no known cause and are referred to as primary OA.
Symptoms of OA manifest in patients as joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, limited joint movement, joint cracking or creaking (crepitation), locking of joints and local inflammation. OA can also lead to joint deformity in later stages of the disease. Many drugs are now used to treat the inflammation and pain associated with OA, including aspirin and other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, that have a rapid analgesic and anti-inflammatory response.
Last updated May 30, 2012