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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease that is characterised by damage to the joints which affects synovial fluid, cartilage, bones, muscles, blood supply and nerves. It happens when the protective cartilage that covers the tips of our bones is gradually worn down and this causes multiple bones to rub against each other. This ultimately leads to pain and eventual loss of function.

Osteoarthritis also affects other connective tissues and muscles related to the affected joint. For example, knee osteoarthritis may affect the connective tissues and muscles in the thighs, calf, buttock and even other joints like the hip and ankle. Having said that, OA does not only affect the knee joint, it also affects the joints in the hands, hips, and spine.

Proper use of the joints will keep it lubricated and this stimulates the repair and rebuilding process. On the other hand, lack of joint use causes the cartilage to become dryer, more brittle and more prone to damage over time. This tends to happen in the parts of the joint surface that is related to ranges of motion that are not being used sufficiently. As time passes, the damage and pain become so severe that it leads to deformities that cannot be corrected and this would leave surgery as the only option.

The 5 Stages of Knee OA

OA of the knee progresses in stages and takes many years to develop. This condition can be hard to treat because symptoms may not appear until OA reaches an advanced stage. OA is divided into five stages (5) with stage 0 representing a healthy & stable knee. As the stages progress, pain and stiffness increase. Here we will focus on the 4 Stages of OA, from Minor to Severe.

Source: https://teachmesurgery.com/orthopaedic/principles/osteoarthritis/

Stage 1 - Minor / Doubtful

Stage 2 - Mild

Stage 3 - Moderate

Stage 4 - Severe

Primary Osteoarthritis vs Secondary Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can be classified into 2 categories:

Who Tends to get OA?

Symptomatic knee OA is currently the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, [4] with an estimated prevalence of 70–80% in the population aged 55 years and older [5]. An ageing Asia with longer lifespan suggests ever-greater numbers of knee OA, among other chronic conditions [6]. The point prevalence of knee OA in Malaysia today is estimated to be 10–20% of the total adult population [7].

Crude prevalence of knee pain and knee osteoarthritis by age
Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225075
Crude prevalence of knee pain and knee osteoarthritis by ethnicity according to age group
Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225075

Which Joints Get Osteoarthritis?

While osteoarthritis can occur in any joint due to injury or abnormality it is much more common in certain joints, particularly weight bearing ones. It is often symmetrical, occurring to some degree in joints on both sides.

We shall look into the signs and symptoms of OA and how Oxidative Stress can lead to OA in our next Blog.

Learn more how Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy can help slow down the progression of OA here : https://hi-bliss.com/muscle-joint-programs/


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