Osteoporosis: causes and symptoms
In our last article, we briefly discussed osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This article will take a closer look at the cause, symptoms, and current treatment used for osteoporosis. So let’s take a second look at what osteoporosis is.
Osteoarthritis is is known to many as “wear and tear” arthritis. It is one of the most common forms of arthritis and is caused by the wear and tear of cartilage away from the joints. This cartilage is responsible for the smooth gliding of the joints, and once it begins to deteriorate the patient develops pain, swelling, arthritis, and even deformity.
Patients with osteoporosis usually report that their pain is greater during times of movement, and then significantly less during periods of rest. Osteoporosis affects women much more than men. There are an estimated 24 million people with arthritis in the United States and about 74% are women.
The cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, but doctors have many doubts. Some of the symptoms of osteoporosis baffle scientists and need more research to determine the actual root of the disease. For example, an X-ray can tell us that arthritis is present, but the amount of pain people with osteoarthritis report is different from the X-ray results. Although many people refer to osteoporosis as a disease of “wear and tear,” the evidence shows that this disease and its mysterious cause are not so simple. In fact, wear and tear not only occurs in one joint, but affects joints all over the body simultaneously. Case in point, those who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee, suffer from osteoarthritis of the hand. Doctors also note that patients not only have osteoarthritis on one side of the body (as would be expected due to wear and tear) but because it appears to affect the body simultaneously, osteoarthritis appears to be a systemic disease that affects all of the cartilage at once.
One suggestion is that osteoarthritis is the result of cartilage not working at its optimal level. Cartilage undergoes a process of breaking down, and then reconstructing it. Some theories state that this process becomes unbalanced and out of control. This is referred to as “end-stage osteoporosis.” At this point joint pain and weakness begin to appear. There are many natural remedies that show promise in managing osteoarthritis pain and symptoms. Look for future articles in our Arthritis series that will present natural remedies that may prevent enzymes from damaging cartilage.
Some other ideas about the cause of osteoporosis include:
Previous sports or joint injuries
Inherited (arthritis seems to run in families)
Frequent bleeding in the joint (as occurs with hemophilia and other diseases)
Repeated occurrence of gout and diseases such as gout
Avascular necrosis – a condition in which blood is cut off near the bones, resulting in bone death and joint damage. Avascular necrosis usually affects the hip joint.
Previous rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can lead to chronic inflammation of the joints.
Osteoporosis: Due to the high risk of bone fractures and injury, osteoporosis may occur in the joints.
Metabolic disorders – for example, hemochromatosis can lead to high levels of iron being deposited in the joints
Arthritis: It is believed that cartilage may deteriorate in people who have defects in cartilage and joints.
We have discussed the possible causes of osteoporosis, and now it is time to consider the various symptoms of osteoporosis. Symptoms of osteoporosis include:
Joint pain – this tends to be worse when getting up in the morning
Swelling and arthritis – this happens during periods of activity
Feeling of “crunching” when moving the joint
Loss of movement and flexibility
There is no sure way to prevent arthritis in any form. However, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis or another type of arthritis.
Some of the preventative methods you might add to your lifestyle today include:
Maintaining an ideal body weight
Take steps to prevent the development of osteoporosis.
Some of these medications include getting enough vitamin D and calcium, exercising, and taking medications if needed.