Globally, 242 million people suffer from osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis and what are its symptoms?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease resulting from the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. Mechanical stress and low-grade inflammatory processes cause the erosion of cartilage and ends up affecting the underlying bone. The most commonly involved joints are fingers; knee and hip joints as well as the joints of the neck and lower back.

The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. Initially they may only occur after exercise, but the symptoms may evolve during the years and become constant over time. Other symptoms may include joint swelling and decreased range of motion. The symptoms can interfere with work and normal daily activities.

Who can suffer from OA and what are the consequences?

Globally, 242 million people suffer from osteoarthritis. Many are elderly due to simple aging factor, but the occurrence in younger generations has increased due to factors as obesity, jobs that result in high levels of joint stress and contact sports like Ice hockey and football. Untreated or undiagnosed early cartilage damages in younger patients will for sure results in OA progression.

The consequences of OA progression are acute and chronic pain, disability in different levels, fatigue and premature ageing with loss of functioning in society. In addition, OA is associated to increased co-morbidities and other chronic diseases. Common co-morbidities in OA include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, lung disease, chronic pain and depression.