Osteoarthritis (OA)

What is osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and is characterized by the breakdown of join cartilage- leading to pain, stiffness, and disability. It is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. OA mostly occurs in the hands, hips, and knees. It is especially common among older people. It may progress quickly, but for most people, joint damage develops gradually over years.


Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include: 

  • Getting older
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Joint injury or overuse
  • Genetic defects


Warning signs of OA include:

  • Joint stiffness after getting out of bed or sitting for a long period
  • Swelling or tenderness in joint(s)
  • Crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing bone


Diagnosis. There is no single test to diagnose OA, multiple methods are used to diagnose and rule out other issues:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • X rays
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Other tests (blood tests, exams of fluid in the joints)


Treatment of osteoarthritis depends on the needs of the patients, but should do the following:

  • Improve joint function
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Control pain
  • Develop a healthy lifestyle


  • Estimated to affect 630 million people worldwide
  • About 27 million people in the United States have OA
  • Affects approximately 10% of men and 13% of women age 60 and older
  • Before age 45, more men than women have osteoarthritis
about osteoarthritis (OA)


  •  "Osteoarthritis Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Feb. 2017. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
  •  National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Osteoarthritis - National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.


This annual celebration is dedicated to raising awareness about rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). People suffering from arthritis and RMDs often see a decrease in their quality of life. They are unable to enjoy the same activities they once enjoyed and often have difficulty carrying out everyday functions they once used to do with ease. However, there are plenty of things people can do to prevent this from happening. Here are five ways to reduce the risk of arthritis:
world arthritis day


NOTE: The information on this page and any information found on healtheo360 is not a substitution for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, CALL 911 immediately. See additional information about our Terms & Conditions.