Learning to Live With Degenerative Arthritis

Arthritis is an illness that can cause pain and swelling in the bones and joints of the body, and can range from being so mild that it only hurts you some of the time to being so severe that it can feel debilitating.

Arthritis, no matter what specific type you may be diagnosed with, is very difficult to deal with. However learning to live with degenerative arthritis will be especially difficult because it is more intense and more painful than all other types of arthritis. If you are one of the millions of people out there who have recently been diagnosed with this condition, of course you are going to want to make yourself more educated on it and on the different things that you can do about it.

The first step will be learning about the degenerative arthritis condition itself, so that you can determine which specific type you have, such as degenerative osteoarthritis.

Degenerative Arthritis

This condition is also known as osteoarthritis, and affects one in every four people, that is how common it is. This is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage and one or more joints. Among the over 100 different types of arthritis that a person can be developed with this one is by far the most common.

Degenerative arthritis most commonly affects the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees, but can develop in other areas of the body as well.

What Happens When Degenerative Arthritis Sets In?

One of the earliest signs of degenerative arthritis is the change in shape of the smallest (top most) joint of the fingers. The cartilage there being the tiniest is among the first (easiest) prey to the devastating effects of the disease. The hand affected by osteoarthritis is quite deformed by the formation of such fusion on different fingers.

The other joints that this type of arthritis attacks are those of the feet (toes in particular), the spinal chord and the joints which bear large amounts of weight such as the knees, the hip joints and so on. The osteoarthritis is classified into two main categories, (i) when the causes of the disease is not well known; it is named primary osteoarthritis and (ii) when the causes of the disease are known, it is named secondary osteoarthritis.

Causes of the primary osteoarthritis - doctors are of the opinion that age is the main cause of this disease. Aging saps the cartilage of water content while depleting its protein content resulting into its gradual degeneration. The cartilage gets frayed with age and movement, when at last (over long years) you will find that there is no more cartilage to lose or damage any longer. The bone inflammation prompts new bone formation resulting into ugly "bumps" called spurs which totally deform the joint.

There have been a number of instances where primary osteoarthritis has been hereditary, spreading over two or three generations. The secondary osteoarthritis is mostly caused by being overweight, gout, hormone disorders, trauma to joints and diabetes to name a few of the biggest culprits.

Diagnosis and Treatment

It is very important that you know your body, so you will be able to recognize if there is ever a problem. This is important, because if you do ever notice that you are experiencing a degenerative arthritis symptom you want to get in and see your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to let you know in a matter of just a few days as to whether or not it is arthritis that you are dealing with.

You need to know that this or any other type of arthritis does not have to rule your life, and there are certainly more than enough options out there in terms of treatment that are available for you to use.

Make sure that you are working with a professional on this, whether that be your doctor, a nutritionist, personal trainer or all of the above. You really want to ensure that you are living as healthy a lifestyle as possible so that at least your arthritis will be at bay for as long as possible.